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When does child support terminate under Texas law?

The family court determines the amount of child support a non-custodial parent has to pay. Although circumstances may necessitate child support obligations to be modified, it can only be done with the court's permission. Informal changes can lead to the accrual of missed payments and potential enforcement under the law. In Texas, child support payments must continue until a child is emancipated.

Under Texas law, emancipation takes place when a child reaches the age of 18. However, exceptions may change the date of emancipation. If a child obtains full-time employment or enters into the military service, child support may be terminated. Also, if a child gets married prior to being emancipated or moves into the residence of the non-custodial parent, a motion to stop paying child support may be filed. If a child under the age of 18 moves in with the non-custodial parent, the former custodian may become eligible to pay child support.

However, certain exceptions could arise that may justify child support payments beyond the age of 18. If the child has not completed high school, emancipation will only take place upon graduation. When a child goes to college, parents may negotiate the continuing payments of child support until the child graduates. Child support does not typically extend beyond the age of 21.

A divorcing parent in Texas may retain the services of an experienced family law attorney to assist with child support issues. A lawyer can facilitate negotiations with the non-custodial parent to reach mutual agreements on continued support for a child still in school. A legal representative can also provide guidance for the proceedings required to file a motion to modify child support obligations.

Source: life.familyeducation.com, "Child Support: What's Fair?", Jan. 2, 2016

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