Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Case Law Development: Court May Assert Jurisdiction to Award Child Support for Disabled Child Over 18 Years Old
The Ohio Court of Appeals resolved a jurisdictional challenge to a trial court's child support order in a case in which Mother sued for divorce and child support for the couple's child who, although over 18 years of age, had Downs Syndrome and was unable to be self-supporting. Father argued that because the court had not asserted jurisdiction over the child while still under age 18, the court lacked jurisdiction to award child support.
The appellate court upheld the trial court's child support order, holding that the child, "as one undisputedly unable to support himself due to his mental retardation, was properly found by the trial court as never having reached the "age of majority" as defined in Ohio statutes. The court interprets that statute in light of common law precedent going back to Kent Commentaries on American Law as establishing "the notion that mentally or physically disabled children should be excepted from a strictly age-based emancipation rule."
Wiczynski v. Wiczynski, 2006 Ohio 867; 2006 Ohio App. LEXIS 773 (February 24, 2006)