Can Child Support Continue After 18?
Child Support Beyond Age 18 in Texas
In Texas, the legal age of the majority is 18. This means that a child who has reached this age is considered an adult and may be responsible for their own financial support. However, there are some instances where a parent may be required to provide child support beyond the age of 18. Let’s discuss what these circumstances are and how parents can go about applying for extended child support.
When Does Child Support End in Texas?
In Texas, court-ordered child support generally ends when the child reaches 18 years of age, graduates from high school (or turns 19), or is emancipated by marriage. However, there may be circumstances where a parent can request to extend their court-ordered obligations beyond these ages.
What Circumstances Allow for an Extension of Child Support?
The most common reason that parents may request an extension on child support past the age of 18 is if their child is still enrolled in high school. In Texas, child support can be extended until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. Parents must provide evidence that their child is still attending high school and working towards graduation to qualify for this extension.
In addition, disabled children may also qualify for extended child support in Texas. If a court determines that a minor who has reached the age of 18 cannot provide for themselves due to a physical or mental disability, then they may be eligible for continued financial aid from their parents (yes, both parents) until they reach adulthood or demonstrate that they are capable of providing for themselves. A request for continued support for a differently-abled adult may be brought forward by either parent, another party who has physical custody or guardianship, or the adult themselves.
It is important to note that the court considers specific criteria when calculating support for a differently-abled adult. These criteria include (but are not limited to):
- The adult dependent’s current or future needs concerning their mental or physical disability
- The care and supervision they may need because of their disability
- Whether the parent pays (or will pay) for their child’s supervision or plans to provide personal care and supervision
- The financial resources of both parents
- Other financial resources, programs, or grants available for the support, care, and supervision of the adult dependent
Can Child Support Continue After 18 If My Child Goes to College?
No, legally, a parent is not required to pay support while a child is in college. Nor does the parent need to provide for their child’s college expenses as a part of their child support obligations.
Divorcing parents can opt to include a college support agreement in their divorce decree; these agreements can also be made as stand-alone contracts. In this agreement, parents will agree to pay a portion of or give a set amount of money towards their child’s college expenses (should they attend). Another way to ensure your child can pay for college is by creating a trust or 529 college savings plan for your child.
Applying For Extended Child Support
Parents seeking to extend their child’s support beyond the age of 18 must file a motion with the court requesting an extension and outlining why it should be granted based on one of the aforementioned circumstances. They should include any evidence necessary to back up their claims and submit it with the motion. The court will review all information provided before deciding whether or not an extension should be granted and how long it should last (if granted).
Trusted Family Law Attorneys
Extending child support payments past the age of 18 is possible under certain circumstances in Texas; however, parents must understand the laws and legal reasons for requesting an extension. A qualified family law attorney can help guide you through this process and ensure that all legal requirements are met before any changes are made to an existing court order.
Backed by over 35 of combined experience, the attorneys at The Clark Law Firm offer high-quality legal counsel and services to our clients. If you need help filing to extend your child support, our attorneys are here and prepared to help you.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm for counsel concerning child support extensions. Call (817) 435-4970 to discuss your case with a member of our team.