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When Child Support Continues Beyond the Age of 18

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In most cases, child support terminates when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes last. However, there is one exception to that rule, and that is if the child is disabled. If a child is disabled and unable to care for him or herself, the Texas courts may order indefinite child support be paid to the primary parent. This is the only time that a Texas court can order a parent to continue making payments beyond the age of emancipation. If your child has a disability that prevents him or her from being able to care for him or herself, reach out to the Dallas child support attorneys at Clark Law Group for help modifying your child support order.

Proving Disability is Key

A person may receive or be ordered to pay child support after a child turns 18 if the disability either manifested itself or was known to exist prior to them reaching the age of 18. The disability can either be physical or mental. It is not necessary for the child to be institutionalized or hospitalized to have child support extended indefinitely.

If you hope to prove that your child requires ongoing care and support, you must show the court the following:

  • That your child requires ongoing and substantial care and supervision;
  • That the child is incapable of supporting him or herself; and
  • That they require extensive monetary support.

If the child is under 18, the court may order payments to be made to the child's guardian or parent. If the child is over 18 years old, the courts may require that the payments be made directly to the child.

Unfortunately, Texas does not make exceptions for college students. While some states order support to be paid until the child finishes school, Texas allows no such concession. If you are worried about how you are going to pay for your child's tuition and other college-related expenses without the help of your child's other parent, it is best to establish terms in the original support decree. Virtually child-related expenses, from college tuition to health insurance, can be negotiated at the time of divorce. A knowledgeable attorney can advise you on what to include in the divorce decree to lessen your financial burden in the future.

Work With a Knowledgeable Dallas Child Support Lawyer

At Clark Law Group, our legal associates understand how important it is to clarify all financial matters at the time of divorce. Unfortunately, it is difficult for parents to achieve a modification to support orders unless an extreme change in circumstances warrant it. A disabled child is one of those circumstances that necessitate indefinite support, but beyond that, if you want help supporting your child beyond the age of 18, be sure to address that at the time of your divorce.

Whether you are in the midst of a divorce, on the brink of a divorce, or already divorced, and if you anticipate needing financial help to raise your child beyond the age of 18, reach out to our Dallas child support lawyers by 469-906-2266 calling today.

(image courtesy of Aaron Burden)

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