Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Caretaking of an Adult Destitute Child

 

Quick Links:
What is Destitute Adult Child?
Parents' Obligation to Pay for a Destitute Adult Child Under Statutory Law
Parents' Obligation to Pay for a Destitute Adult Child Under Case Law
Penalties of Not Providing for a Destitute Adult Child

 

  There are many aspects when it comes to the caretaking of a child, but what about an adult.  A destitute child is just one of the many ways a parent might still be obligated to pay for a child even though the child is over the age of 18.  We here at the Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. have handled destitute children cases. 


What is a Destitute Adult Child?

Most people believe that once a child reaches the age of 18, that the child support and caretaking of that child stops.  However, that assumption is wrong.  In most situations, a child does become emancipated at the age of 18; however there are some circumstances where a parent might have to continue to pay for a child past the age of 18.  One set of circumstances is a destitute adult child.  A destitute adult child is an adult child who does not have the means of substance, and cannot be self-supporting due to a mental or physical condition.  MD. Code, FAM LAW §13-101(b).


Parents’ Obligation to Pay for a Destitute Adult Child Under Statutory Law

  Maryland looks at the destitute adult child and has to determine whether or not they are able to take care of themselves both physically and mentally. MD. Code, FAM LAW §13-101(b). If the child in fact is determined to be a destitute adult child by not being able to take care of themselves financially and physically, then a parent might have a duty to take care of the destitute adult child.  MD. Code, FAM LAW §13-101(b); and MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(b).  The parent’s duty to take care of the destitute adult child arises if “a destitute adult child is in the State and has a parent who has or is able to earn sufficient means, the parent may not neglect or refuse to provide the destitute adult child with food, shelter, care, and clothing.” MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(b).


Parents’ Obligation to Pay for a Destitute Adult Child Under Case Law

  The case law found in Cutts, Jr. v. Trippe, 208 Md.App. 696, (2012) enforces the duty of a parent to take care of a destitute adult child.  In Cutts, Jr. v. Trippe, 208 Md.App. 696, (2012) the mother of the destitute child moved to modify the father’s child support obligation because the destitute adult child was incurring reasonable expenses that the destitute child was unable to pay. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that under MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(b), “[p]arents have a statutory duty to support an adult destitute child,” as defined under MD. Code, FAM LAW §13-101(b), and granted the mother’s motion. Cutts, Jr. v. Trippe, 208 Md.App. 696, 703 (2012).  Thus, Cutts, Jr. v. Trippe enforces the obligation of a parent to take care of a destitute adult child.

  It’s not just one parent’s obligation, however, to take care of a destitute adult child, but both.  In Presley, Jr. v. Presley, 65 Md.App. 265 (1985), the former wife sought arrearages in child support and medical expense payments for their destitute adult child by the destitute adult child’s father. Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals remanded the trial courts original holding allowing only one parent to pay for the child’s medical expenses, and held that there was a duty under MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(b) for both parents who were able to provide sufficient means to the support of the destitute child, to pay for the child’s medical expenses.  Presley, Jr. v. Presley, 65 Md.App. 265, 278, 279 (1985).  Further, the court held that if a trial court determines an adult to be a destitute adult child, and that destitute adult child had health care insurance but could prove that even though she could pay her regular bills she could  not pay her medical bills, the parents may be obligated to pay the difference between what the medical insurance paid and what is owed. Presley, Jr. v. Presley, 65 Md.App. 265, 278, 279 (1985)


Penalties of not Providing For a Destitute Adult Child

  According to MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(c), the penalties for not providing a destitute adult child with food, shelter, care, and clothing are as follows: “A person who violates any provisions of this sextion is guilty of a misdemeanor and on a conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.” MD Code, FAM LAW §13-102(c).

 

  This is not legal advice.  The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. are experienced attorneys who can help you receive the maximum for your case.  For more information as to whether you are entitled to relief due to the care-taking of a destitute child, contact a practicing attorney at the Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, and Wills, Trusts, & Estates


Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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