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Can child support continue after high school graduation?

Some non-custodial parents in Texas may believe that child support always ends on a child's 18th birthday. However, that is not always the case. In legal terms, child support ends when a child reaches the age of majority, which is usually at age 18. This is the point in a teenager's life when he or she is considered mature enough to make his or her own legal decisions as an adult.

Under Texas law, court-ordered child support ends at age 18 or the date that the child completes his or her high school education. If a child is still in school after the age of 18, child support must continue until graduation from high school or age 21 -- whichever comes first. Exceptions exist for children with disabilities. Although there is no statute or law in Texas that can order a parent to pay additional support to cover college education, parents may reach such agreements.

Parents may include provisions for further studies in a child support agreement. Such a provision can be handled in several ways, including an extra amount in addition to ongoing child support or as a separate payment upon the conclusion of child support. Non-custodial parents may not realize that child support does not end automatically, and they must petition the court to suspend the obligation at the time of the child's graduation. A parent may not simply stop paying child support.

Non-custodial parents may only modify their child support payments if authorized by the court. Texas parents whose circumstances have necessitated modifications to child support, or those who want end child support may find the assistance offered by experienced child support attorneys to be invaluable. A lawyer can assess a client's circumstances, suggest the most suitable solution and provide support throughout any legal proceedings.

Source: ncsl.org, "Termination of support-college support beyond the age of majority", Accessed on Nov. 2, 2015

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