In a divorce in Georgia, the court awards child support to the custodial parent based upon guidelines provided in the law. This support is used to provide a quality life for the child. The need for child support is even greater when the child has special needs, as there are additional expenses for therapies, nursing assistants, and adaptive equipment. It is not uncommon for a divorced parent to fall behind on child support and leave the custodial parent without the funds needed to provide care for the child with special needs. One of the methods of assuring that adequate funds exist for the child support I for the court to order the formation of a child support trust.
A child support trust is used when the parent who is ordered to pay child support has sporadic income or spending habits that make it unpredictable whether child support will be paid. The trust is funded with lump sum payments and disbursements are made over time according to the provisions of the trust as ordered by the court. If the child has special needs and is receiving Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid, it is important to place special needs provisions into the trust. Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid both have asset limits that must be met for qualification. Absent special needs language in the trust document, the assets contained in the trust will be considered available to the special needs child and prevent them from receiving benefits. An experience elder law attorney can advise on the suitability of a child support trust with special needs provisions and ensure that the child’s benefits are protected.