The Minnesota Court of Appeals this week rejected a wealthy man's claim that he shouldn't have to pay part of his disabled adult son's care because he pays high taxes and his son is eligible for government support.

The court's decision upheld Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke's order that Timothy Hanratty must continue to pay $2,300 a month in child support, which his ex-wife in turn pays to the group home where their 32-year-old son, Travis Hanratty, lives.

Although he made more than $1 million a year in 2007 and 2008, Timothy Hanratty argued that his child support is no longer necessary because Travis has moved to a place where eligibility for government reimbursement would make him self-supporting.

The monthly group home bill is $6,500 for Travis, who requires intensive care and is therefore still eligible for child support under the law.

"Essentially, [Hanratty] argued that it was unfair to require him to fund his son's care when the taxpayers could do it," the Appeals Court decision said. But the court agreed with Burke's reasoning "that it is not unreasonable or unfair to require a father with over $1.2 million in annual income" to help support his disabled child "rather than shifting the burden to a state that is cutting programs for [its] most vulnerable citizens."

Hanratty said Wednesday that he wants the best for his son and foots the bill for his health insurance, but he does not believe he is being treated equally.

"If you walk around and talk to anyone who has a handicapped child in this state, you would find that none of them pay child support to the state," said Hanratty, founder and president of the Plymouth-based benefits consulting and brokerage firm Hanratty and Associates.

Hanratty argued to the court that the state doesn't require parental contributions to offset a child's public assistance once they reach adulthood. But both Burke and the Appeals Court concluded that the father's payments were still-needed child support and not a parental contribution.

After Timothy and Jean Hanratty divorced in 2001, Travis, who has Down syndrome and was then 21, lived with his mother. Travis moved to the group home in March 2009, and Jean Hanratty began paying Timothy Hanratty's payments to the group home, with public assistance covering the remainder.

Timothy Hanratty argued in part that because he paid high income taxes, he was funding his son's care twice. He said Wednesday that his income since the recession is lower than the figures cited by the courts. He said he's concerned the court decisions weren't made based on the law but rather on the judges' "own gut feeling." He said he was not ready to say whether he will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

He said that in the meantime, he will continue to pay the monthly amount and spend time with Travis, one of his four sons.

"It's hard enough to have a handicapped kid, but he's a good kid," Hanratty said. "I'll do whatever's fair."

Abby Simons • 612-673-7212