Does a non-custodial parent of a 20-year old have a legal responsibility to pay for that “child’s” defense attorney?

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Does a non-custodial parent of a 20-year old have a legal responsibility to pay for that “child’s” defense attorney?

Asked on December 2, 2015 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No. A 20-year old is an adult, not a minor. Another adult, even a parent (whether custodial or not) is not obligated by law to pay for the cost of a defense attorney. The only excepton would be if there had been a child support order or settlement (such as in a divorce proceeding or other family court matter) which stated that the parent had to pay for legal defense at least up through age 20; if so, such an order or settlement is enforceable, but if there was no such order or settlement, there would be no obligation to pay.


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