Today’s reality is that many families have children who are faced with disabling conditions that prevent them from relinquishing their dependency on others. Often, the need for specialized treatment and care does not terminate once a severely disabled child reaches adulthood. While typically parents are relieved of their legal parental obligations to their adult-aged children, this is not the same case for parents with severely disabled children. In some respects, Ohio has recognized the financial difficulties divorced parents face when they are the sole caregivers of disabled adult children. Although Ohio law requires that the noncustodial parent in a divorce pay child support for their disabled adult children if the disability arose prior to the child reaching eighteen, ambiguity in the law gives Ohio courts discretion to circumvent their jurisdiction in these particular situations. Currently, Ohio courts differ in how they interpret whether they retain jurisdiction to initiate support orders for disabled children after the disabled child has reached the age of majority. This discretion is problematic, and this type of arbitrary power punishes disabled adults for something beyond their control—namely, the timing of their caregivers’ divorce. This Note attempts to resolve the current ambiguity in Ohio law by arguing that Ohio law should be interpreted to reflect the inevitable overlap between a parent’s moral and legal duties and recognize the courts’ powers to initiate support orders for disabled adults.
In the "Best Interests" of the Disabled: Legislating Morality and the Power to Initiate Support Orders for Disabled Adults in Ohio,
65 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol65/iss3/10