When do child support payments stop after a Texas divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | Child Support

Balancing your budget after a divorce isn’t easy. If you pay child support, your financial obligations can reduce your disposable income every month. If you receive child support, it can be hard to know if you are going to receive the full amount and if it will come on time.

Whether you are the custodial parent receiving support or the parent paying it, understanding how long child support obligations last makes it easier for you to plan for your long-term financial stability. When will child support usually end after a Texas divorce?

Many times, court-ordered support ends with high school

Under Texas law, child support payments end either when a child turns 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever occurs last. If your teenager turns 18 but still has another year of school to go, support obligations will continue until they graduate.

What if the child has special needs?

If there is a child support order for a child with special needs, support may not end when a child legally becomes an adult. Special needs adults often need help managing their finances and even with their daily care.

Depending on the severity of the condition and the need for parental support after the age of 18, child support might continue indefinitely for the rest of the child’s life. When the child developed or acquired the disability may impact the child support requirements for the situation.

What if your child is college bound?

Another reason why families may have longer-lasting and higher overall financial obligations to a child would be if that child goes on to college after high school. College degrees can cost almost as much as a starter house and often require the help of both parents to make costs affordable.

The Texas family courts usually don’t order child support to last through college even if the parents agree their child will likely attend. However, divorcing parents who set their own terms for custody and other factors in their case might agree to continue child support until the recipient finishes college.

If you have a support order that includes college considerations, then support obligations will likely continue until the child graduates or drops out. In cases where situations change suddenly, the parent paying or receiving support can always go to the court to ask for a modification.

FindLaw Network
Heidi L. Heinrich
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