Texas parents may have a general understanding that child support obligations end when the child reaches the age of 18. However, in certain situations, child support can end before the age of majority is reached, like when a teenager declares himself or herself emancipated and financially independent of the parents. In other situations, child support may continue beyond the time that the child reaches 18, such as cases in which a child support order contains provisions for college education expenses.
Typically child support is anticipated to stop when one or more factors occur: the child reaches the age of majority, when the child begins their college education, if the child gets married or in the event of the death of the child. Support obligations can also end if the child becomes financially stable and independent of their parents. This may happen when the child joins the military or obtains a job and establishes their own housing arrangements.
Child support may be extended beyond the age of 18 in cases where the custody order included a provision that both parents would be responsible for college education and related expenses. A child who has suffered a disability or who has special needs may also require continued child support for their care and medical expenses.
If a parent is making payments but feels that support is no longer necessary because of the child’s emancipation from the custodial parent, it can be in the parent’s best interests to speak to an attorney to obtain information on how to end support obligations. Likewise, if a significant event such as a job loss or raise occurs in either parent’s life, an order may need to be modified to reflect these changes in the financial situation so that the payment amounts can be adjusted accordingly for a child that still requires support.