When Divorced Parents Financially Support Their Adult Children
May 25, 2020
The current financial situation has caused many aspects of the American dream myth to shatter. One of those myths is that simply earning a college degree is enough to make you financially independent of your parents. Young adults who rely on their parents for financial assistance are the rule rather than the exception, regardless of income level and education. Unfortunately, divorce courts do not always take this into account when dividing a couple’s marital property. When your children are minors, the court carefully apportions each parent’s financial obligations to them, but once your children reach adulthood, the court is much less helpful at resolving conflicts about their financial support. Sometimes the court’s general avoidance of getting involved in decisions about adult sons and daughters leads to unfairness in the division of property or the award, or lack thereof, of alimony. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates can help ensure that your division of property and alimony awards are fair if your financial situation involves supporting your grown children.
Paying for College: Dreams versus Reality
The cost of university education has skyrocketed during your children’s lifetime. Even if you and your ex started a college fund when each child was born, most students borrow money to cover at least some of their college expenses. Sometimes students take out student loans in their own names, but sometimes parents also borrow money to fund their children’s college education. From the court’s perspective, your family’ student loan situation is your business, not the court’s. If you are using your own money or your own loans to pay your children’s college tuition, the court may not count it as an expense relevant to the calculation of spousal support.
Court-Ordered Financial Support for Adults with Medical Special Needs
In the case of children with disabilities that cause them to continue to require financial support from their parents after they reach adulthood, the court will order child support payments to continue for as long as the adult son or daughter will need support, sometimes for the rest of the parents’ lives. Your lawyer can help you resolve disputes related to the financial needs of your adult son or daughter with special needs. For example, a judge in Florida decided a case where divorced parents disagreed about the best interests of their 23-year-old daughter Amy, who has intellectual disabilities and can work, but cannot earn enough to be financially independent. Amy’s mother wanted to send her out of state to an expensive boarding school for young adults with special needs, but her father thought it was best for her parents to help her pay rent while she lived in an inexpensive apartment in her parents’ cities.
When Divorced Parents Support Their Grandchildren
In New Jersey, a woman named Bonnie divorced after 30 years of marriage and was awarded a modest amount of alimony to supplement her earnings. After her divorce, Bonnie’s young grandson moved in with her while Bonnie’s daughter underwent inpatient treatment for drug addiction. Bonnie paid for her daughter’s treatment and supported her grandson without help from her ex-husband, the father of their daughter. She went back to court to have the money she was spending on her daughter and grandson reclassified as expenses, in order to increase her alimony award.
Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Divorced Parents Be There for Their Adult Children
Your financial relationship with your children does not automatically end when your children graduate from high school. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh about child support cases.