We previously blogged about New York Legislature’s expanding a parent’s duty to support their disabled adult child until the age of 26, which was signed into law on October 8, 2021. As we approach the one-year anniversary of this new law, a decision was recently decided in Queens County which provides some insight as to the impact the expansion of child support has had on families who have disabled children.

On August 5, 2022, in the case entitled Pettway v. Pettway, 2022 NYLJ LEXIS 1182 (Sup. Ct. Queens County 2022), Referee Maria L. Bradley granted a mother’s application to extend child support until the age of 26 for the parties’ two youngest children due to their respective disabilities.

In accordance with the parties’ judgment of divorce, which incorporated their stipulation of settlement, the father was to pay child support for the parties’ three children until they each reached the age of 21. The mother moved to extend child support until 26 years old for two of the parties’ children in accordance with Family Court Act §413-b. The mother submitted her own affirmation and medical evidence which supported her contentions that two of the parties’ three children have significant medical conditions. Specifically, the mother averred that the daughter who was 22 was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder, and the son, who was 21 was diagnosed with Autism.

The mother’s medical documentation demonstrated that the son had a full-scale IQ of 46, which is the age equivalent of 5 years and 5 months. The mother further submitted the report of a licensed therapist stating that the daughter is on medication and in continued psychotherapy. The mother also attested to the fact she must continuously monitor the daughter to take her medication.

The Court acknowledged that “the medical evidence establishes that both [of the children’s] impairments are of a continuous nature that would impair their ability to function in society” (see Mental Hygiene Law §1.03[22][d]) and granted the extension of child support through the age of 26 for both children.

When filing an application seeking to extend child support through the age of 26 based on a child’s disability said disability needs to fall within the definition of a “developmental disability” as set forth in Mental Hygiene Law §1.03(22)(a-d). We will continue to monitor and update our readers with any new decisions that may address the extension of child support until age 26 in accordance with §413-b of the Family Court Act and §240-d of the Domestic Relations Law.

The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Hanna Kirkpatrick or Mariselle R. Harrison at 516-746-8000 or via email at hkirkpatrick@jaspanllp.com or mharrison@jaspanllp.com.