Child support continued for child over age 18 with mental disability

Recent Case from the Missouri Court of Appeals:

Mother appeals from a judgment modifying her child support obligation to continue support for a child beyond the age of eighteen. Mother argues that it was against the weight of the evidence to find the child mentally incapacitated from supporting himself, and that no substantial evidence supported finding that the child was insolvent.

Judgment Affirmed.

Missouri law states that child support terminates at age 18 for a child who is not enrolled in post-secondary education or 21 for a child who is. Statutes also allow an extension of that obligation for a child who cannot support themselves due to mental disability and financial insolvency. It was not against the weight of the evidence for the trial court to find the child mentally incapacitated from supporting himself. Mental disability is not a matter of lay opinion, but appellant’s child had undisputed diagnoses of mental disorders, and lay opinion—Father’s first-hand observations as to the extent that the disorders hindered child’s self-support was sufficient evidence for circuit court to extend appellant’s obligation. Further the child’s income is outpaced by his expenses, which consist of spending drawn from his disability benefit and the expenses incurred by Father. The child would be unable to meet his financial needs without Father's help, so the circuit court did not err in extending the child support obligation.

KK vs. JK

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD79931