Predicting the End Date of Your Child Support Obligation
From the moment a child is born, both parents have a legal obligation to provide for them. In cases where the baby is born to unwed parents, or married parents who later divorce, the discrepancies in time each spends caring for the child are remedied by an award of child support.
Parents are typically expected to continue paying child support until their child is emancipated at age 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes later. Still, there are circumstances which could prematurely terminate, or further extend, child support obligations.
When Child Support Can End Early
There are few instances where child support may be terminated early. The only events that would end obligations are:
- The child’s death
- The child’s enrollment in the military
- The child’s marriage
- The child’s successful petitioning for freedom from parental control
When Child Support Can Continue After a Child’s 18th Birthday or Graduation
Child support is rarely extended beyond a child’s eighteenth birthday or high school graduation. It may be extended indefinitely, but only if the child is known to have a disability before their eighteenth birthday and requires substantial care.
Handling College Expenses as Divorced Parents
While Texas courts cannot order parents to provide for their child through college, they can enforce contracts that coparents willingly entered into. If you and your spouse are nearing divorce, you should reach an agreement on whether you will help your child through college. Decide how much you will provide, for how long, and on what terms. Once you’ve settled on an arrangement, write it down and include it in your divorce decree. While a verbal agreement will not carry weight, a legal one will.
For more information on child support, contact The Springer Law Firm.