Tuesday, 24 September 2013 00:00

Adult Child Support

Written by

Adult child support is often a contentious issue between the mother, father and adult child.  Under California law, parents are obligated to support their child until the child reaches 18 years old or 19 years old, if the child is still in high school.  What happens if the child is incapacitated?  Are parents legally obligated to support an incapacitated son or daughter once the child reaches the age of majority? 

Under California law, both parents are required to support their incapacitated son or daughter during adulthood.   In California, a father and mother have an equal responsibility to maintain, to the extent of their ability, a child of whatever age who is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means.[1]  

The purpose of adult child support is to protect an incapacitated adult and to limit the likelihood that the public will need to step in and support the incapacitated adult.  Accordingly, when determining the amount of support, the courts follow the same Family Code guidelines for incapacitated adult children that they use when determining child support for minor children.[2] 

To determine how much support each parent must contribute, the courts consider each parent’s income, living expenses, and disposable income.[3]  Like with support for minor children, which takes into consideration the percentage of time that each parent has custody of a minor child,[4] the courts take into consideration the physical responsibility that each parent has regarding the incapacitated adult child.

Determining whether an adult child has a disability that qualifies him or her for support under California law is complicated.  If you have any questions about adult child support, contact an experienced attorney.

[1]Cal. Fam. Code §3910.

[2] In re Marriage of Drake, 53 Cal. App. 4th 1139, 1156-57 (1997). 

[3] Cal. Fam. Code §4055.

[4] Cal. Fam. Code §4055.