Family Law

Special Needs Children / Child Support Past Emancipation / Guardianship

Specially-Designed Parenting Plans for Special Needs Children

Our attorneys are experienced in matters concerning special needs children. Whether a child has Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, or other special needs, these delicate issues should be addressed with care. We focus on preserving the relationship between the child and both parents, as well as the ongoing financial needs.

We help parents understand their options and rights regarding a child’s continued care, decision-making, and financial support. Our team collaborates with other McCarthy Lebit attorneys and other professionals in the relevant industry to address the unique issues, including support, estate planning, trusts, guardianships, and education planning.

Child Support Past Eighteen (18) Years Old

Our team evaluates the continuation of child support after the child turns 18 years old based on the child’s physical and mental disabilities. Special needs children will likely need continued care and financial support. A special needs child may be designated a “Castle child” if the child’s disabilities make them incapable of supporting themselves.


We are able to guide family members through the application process to become the child’s legal guardian during adulthood.

After 18 years old, if a child does not have the competency to make decisions and take care of himself, a guardianship may be appropriate. As the legal guardian, that person can continue their role in making decisions, protecting the child’s interests, providing maintenance and education, and authorizing medical care. That individual may also be named as guardian of the estate to manage the child’s finances.

Visitation may also be an issue past emancipation. While only one parent can be designated guardian, the other parent may be entitled to visitation rights. Depending on the county of the divorce or court order, an extension of the shared parenting plan (verses guardianship) may also be appropriate.

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