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When Do Child Support Obligations End for Texas Parents?

 Posted on December 20, 2022 in Child Support

Austin, TX child support attorneyUnder Texas law, every parent has the legal responsibility to provide financial support for their child, even if that child does not live with them. This is why non-custodial parents are ordered to pay child support. And although the majority of parents meet that obligation without any issues, there is no denying that it can feel financially liberating when the day comes that the parent no longer has to send that child support payment to their ex.

Generally, parents are responsible for child support until the child reaches the legal age of adulthood – 18 years – or graduates from high school, whichever comes last. However, some parents wonder if there are situations in which the court will order child support payments to be extended beyond that point. See below for a brief overview of that question.

Disabled Child

Under the Texas Family Code, if a child is disabled, then the law says that the court can order that child support be paid for an indefinite period of time. This is the only exception to extended child support under the law, but there are criteria that are required to be met. These include:

  • The disability the child suffers from must have been present and/or known to exist prior to the child reaching 18

  • The disability is either a physical or mental one

  • The child is incapable of self-support

  • The child requires continuous care and supervision; however, there is no requirement for hospitalization or institutionalization

What About College Tuition and Expenses?

Although some states do address a parent’s responsibility for a child’s college expenses after a divorce, Texas law does not. The only way in Texas a parent will have a legal obligation to pay for college expenses is if the parents address this issue during their divorce negotiations. Whatever agreement they come to will be included in the final decree.

Some of the points that should be addressed in the college expense agreement are:

  • What percentage of tuition and expenses will each parent be responsible for?

  • What – if any – is the cap for the total amount for which each parent will be responsible?

  • Is there a limit on what the parent will pay for, such as private or public colleges or universities, as well as a limit on geographical distance and housing expenses?

Contact an Austin, TX Child Support Attorney for Legal Assistance

If you have decided to end your marriage and have complex legal issues that need to be addressed, you need a skilled Travis County divorce lawyer to ensure your interests are protected. Call Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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