Family Law

Family Law News Issue 1, 2021, Volume 43, No. 1

Building the Case for Adult Child Support

Elsa-Marie Medeiros

Elsa-Marie Medeiros is an associate at Moradi Saslaw LLP. She received her Juris Doctorate and certificate in Child Advocacy from UC Hastings College of the Law. She also served as an editor for the Hastings Law Journal. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and earned a certificate in Human Rights from Stanford University. She is a Court Appointed Special Advocate in San Francisco County and speaks fluent Portuguese.

It is common knowledge that when parents divorce or separate with minor children there is a financial obligation to support the children until they attain eighteen years of age. However, parents can be statutorily required to support their children beyond the age of majority.1 This occurs in two situations: (1) the adult child is eighteen years old in high school and is not self-supporting2 or (2) the adult child is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means.3

Adult child support is an area of family law that does not garner much attention because the issue seems to be uncommon. It is still important though to be aware of the issue because it can potentially pose a financial burden or legal liability on clients—payments can last the lifetime of the children and a parent can be sued for unpaid support. A basic understanding of the statutes and case law on adult child support is crucial to advise clients on the extent of child support obligations and to protect the welfare of adult children.

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