Child support orders tend to be some of the most litigated and contentious orders a court enforces. No matter if you are divorcing or were never but have to pay child support you may be wondering how long you will have to pay child support or how long you will be entitled to receive child support. This post will cover how long you may receive child support in Texas and how long you can be expected to pay child support.
However, even though many people know what child support is they may not be aware of what they are entitled to and how the courts calculate the amount of child support a parent should pay. To set up a free legal consultation, call Queenan Law at (888) 522-6500. Our attorneys handle child support claims in the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas, including Baytown, Sugar Land, Pearland, Arlington, Fort Worth, Irving, and more.
Call Queenan Law or contact us online and tell us about your situation. With more than 20 years of legal experience among our Houston family law attorneys, we are eager to put our knowledge to work for you
How Long Does Child Support Last?
A parent has the duty to support their child while the child is considered a minor. The parent also has a duty to support their child while they are enrolled in an accredited school in a program leading toward a high school diploma, and until the end of the school year in which the child graduates from high school. Child support usually lasts until the child turns 18 and is no longer in high school. However, it is common that a child may still be in high school on their 18th birthday. To prevent child support being cut off in these cases, the Texas legislature has determined that the parent should continue to pay child support as long as the child is in high school and is progressing towards receiving their diploma. However, the child must graduate from high school before they reach the ages of 21.
If the child is disabled, child support can continue even after the child turns 18. Payments to reduce “back” child support will continue until the debt is paid in full.
Texas law provides a mathematical formula to calculate the amount a noncustodial parent will owe in child support. The noncustodial parent will be obligated to pay child support until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later.
What if My Child Gets Married?
Sometimes our children get married, even if the parents think that they may be too young. According to a Pew Research report, Texans tend to get married slightly younger than the rest of the nation. If you are separated from your spouse and are paying child support you may be wondering if you have to pay child support if your child marries.
Under the Texas Family Code § 154.302, you are generally not required to pay child support upon their marriage to another. However, you and your former spouse may have made arrangements for child support to continue after the child is married.
What If a Child Becomes Disabled Before the Age Eighteen?
As noted above, each parent has a duty to support their child until they turn 18 or graduate from high school whichever is later. However, what happens if your child becomes disabled before they turn 18 and are not able to work or will need additional care that will extend past their eighteenth birthday. Unfortunately, events like this happen, however, the Texas Family Code provides that an adult child who was mentally or physically disabled before they reached the age of 18 may continue to receive child support past their eighteenth birthday. Additionally, an action to enforce the support obligation can be brought after the child reaches age 18, as long as the child was disabled before their 18th birthday. In the event that your child becomes disabled before their eighteenth birthday, you may be able to modify your child support order.
How Are Child Support Payments Made?
Often if you are separating from a spouse, your relationship with them might not be in the best condition. In the past, it was a problem with parents making child support payments. This was a reason for parents coming back to court and asking the court to enforce the child support payments. To expedite the process as well as to encourage timely payments the Texas legislature has established local child support registries. These registries were designed to avoid disputes when the obligors make direct payments to the obligee and they fail to retain a receipt. However, the parties may expressly agree to make direct payments to the other parent.
If you have a child support question Call Queenan Law or contact us online and tell us about your situation. With more than 20 years of legal experience among our family law lawyers, we are eager to put our knowledge to work for you.