Assistance with DC Divorce, Child Support, and Special Needs Trusts

Legal Article

Assistance with DC Divorce, Child Support, and Special Needs Trusts

A divorce can be one of the most difficult times in someone’s life. If this process involves a child with special needs, it can be even more difficult and complicated.  This complexity extends not only to emotional matters, however, it also makes financial planning more important due to the increased likelihood that the child will require care and financial assistance for their entire life. Antonoplos & Associates is here to offer guidance on DC assistance with divorce, child support, and special needs trusts.

As a child with special needs may be unable to secure sustainable employment, they will most likely apply for Social Security and Medical Assistance. This is a great benefit that becomes available on their 18th birthday. However, it requires that you and your ex-spouse take even more care during the financial planning portion of a divorce. This ensures that any future payments from a trust do not force your child off either of these crucial programs. During an already stressful time, focusing on financial planning that will not become necessary for a number of years becomes even more difficult.

Types of Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a common trust option for parents to establish when going through a divorce that includes a child with special needs. This type of trust allows someone who receives resource-based public benefits—such as SSI and/or Medical Assistance—to place monies in this type of trust while still continue receiving SSI and Medical Assistance. The first way that this type of trust can be funded is through a First Party. This type of SNT is created and funded by the beneficiary and has a payback to the state Medicaid agency upon the termination of the Trust. 

The other option for a SNT is to create a Third-Party Funded Special Needs Trust—commonly referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust. You fund this SNT with monies from someone besides the beneficiary. Furthermore, you do not have a payback to the state upon termination. Either SNT option can be useful to help your child pay for items and services not provided for by benefits. Common services or items paid for by an SNT includes transportation, clothing, entertainment, and unreimbursed medical expenses.

Either variation of the Special Needs Trust will be extremely beneficial to your child. This trust is also useful to help you and your ex-spouse divide up your assets during a divorce. In addition to SNT, divorcing couples should also revise their Wills. One area to focus on in a Third-Party Funded SNT, is that you should be name a trustee. The trustee will manage and hold any inheritance monies passing to the child. This is a crucial step to ensure that your child will be able to have expendable income while still receiving the other financial and medical benefits that they rely on.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

For more than 20 years, Antonoplos & Associates has practiced estate planning and family law. Finally, we represent clients throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

For more information on DC assistance with divorce, child support, and special needs trusts, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. For more information regarding special needs trusts or other legal issues, check out our blog.