Child support can be one of the more divisive issues in a Texas divorce. Parents probably have strong feelings about what amount of support is appropriate and how long those support payments should last.
Sometimes, when couples negotiate their own divorce settlements for uncontested divorce filings, they can agree to their own unique terms for child support. For example, if you have a college-bound child, you and your ex might agree to contribute until they either finish college or drop out of school.
If you don’t reach your own settlement agreement, then the Texas family courts will make all the major decisions about child support. When will child support obligations end?
The standard scenario
For most families, the termination of child support will occur when the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
An academically advanced teenager who graduates several years early can still receive child support from their parent after finishing school. Students who struggle academically or who are simply older than their classmates might turn 18 at the beginning of their final year of high school or even reach the age of 19 while still enrolled.
Provided that the student continues to work toward a high school diploma, their parent will need to continue paying child support.
Unusual situations that are exceptions to the rule
There are certain situations that deviate from the standard, and understanding if your family circumstances mirror any of these scenarios can help you understand if child support might last longer or end earlier than most cases.
When a minor child seeks emancipation, dies, gets married while still a minor, or gets adopted by a stepparent or other individual, the child support order pertaining to them may terminate. In some cases, the courts may order a parent to continue paying child support after someone turns 18 or finishes high school. Permanent disability diagnosed before the 18th birthday can be grounds for ongoing child support requirements.
If none of these unusual situations apply to your family circumstances, you can expect that child support will end when a child reaches adulthood or finishes high school, whichever happens later.