Tough Questions: Child support for life? - WNEM TV 5

Tough Questions: Child support for life?

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Tanya Alexander with her daughter, Megan -- Alexander spoke with TV5 about her quest to change state law on Tuesday. Tanya Alexander with her daughter, Megan -- Alexander spoke with TV5 about her quest to change state law on Tuesday.
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A local woman is taking her battle for child support to state lawmakers.

Tanya Alexander says she wants to get the law changed because it doesn't factor in parents with children who are disabled.

"I have always had to be an advocate for my daughter, if she can't do things for herself, I have to," said Alexander to TV5 on Tuesday.

Alexander's daughter Megan has special needs. She was born without a fourth chromosome and can't walk, talk or take care of herself, so her mother does it all for her.

"She has to have her diaper changed on a regular basis, she's tube fed throughout the day, and we have to change her seating throughout the day to avoid bed sores," explains Alexander.

Alexander had been receiving child support from Megan's dad to help cover expenses, but that stopped last fall when Megan turned 18.

When Megan's dad stopped making payments, and based on the current child support law, a judge ruled he didn't have to continue with them.

"The current law states that child support will end at 18, or 19 1/2, unless the child is a full-time student in high school with a reasonable date for graduation from high school," said Alexander.

Now Alexander is taking action and working with state Rep. Jim Ananich, of Flint, to push for a provision in the child support law so it includes language for families in situations like hers.

"We want [the law] to say, "unless the adult child has disabilities or is mentally handicapped in any way."

House Bill 4336 is already being considered in the judiciary committee.

Alexander has contacted committee members to get the bill taken up for discussion, which could happen soon. It will then be presented to the full House for a vote. Alexander says 27 other states have a law similar to this, and she's hoping Michigan will be number 28.

If all goes well, Alexander says she will work to get the new law in every state.

"We all, still as parents, want the best for our children," she said.

Alexander's request for extended child support was reviewed and denied by Genesee County Judge John Gadola.

TV5 contacted his office Tuesday hoping to talk about the case and the current child support law. He was not able to meet with us or comment on the issue.

TV5 did obtain the judge's opinion in the case. Click here to read the .pdf file.

Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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