November Case Summary
Vaida v. Vaida
The plaintiff, Nancy C. Vaida (mother), appeals from an order for summary judgment on her complaint seeking that the defendant, George A. Vaida (father), pay post minority support for his twenty-three year old physically disabled son.
The parties had three minor children. While the parties were separated and divorce proceedings were pending, two of the minor children were injured in a terrible car accident. As a result of the accident, Evan became a partial quadriplegic. The father was wholly responsible for the injuries that the children sustained. The mother subsequently filed a civil suit against the father. While the suit was pending, the divorce was finalized.
The question before the court on appeal was whether a person of full mental faculties could receive post minority child support. The court held that post minority support is not available to adult children who are not incapacitated persons placed under guardianship. The court went onto say that a guardianship would not be appropriate as Evan had full mental faculties. The court also found that equity jurisdiction was not appropriate as the court’s role is to “enforce existing obligations . . . and not create new obligations.”
Comment: This case is important because it establishes principal and post minority support is only allowed in guardianship of incapacitated persons. If you have a disabled child you will need to do some advanced financial planning.