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How long does child support last in Texas?

Divorce can change a lot in the life of a McAllen resident. It ends a relationship, moves individuals into separate households, and requires parents to work out ways to share in the love and responsibility of child-raising. For the most part, individuals who divorce each other are able to live separate lives from their exes. However, there are some ongoing responsibilities that may bind them to their exes for years.

One of those responsibilities is child support. If two divorced individuals share a child, they will both remain responsible for the care and maintenance of the youth. Many individuals are unclear about when child support ends, and this post will offer some information on when a divorced parent may expect to see an end to their child support obligation. As with all legal matters, though, readers can speak with their family law and divorce attorneys about their specific legal questions.

Child support ending by agreement

Some parents choose to create and execute agreements with their exes about their post-divorce responsibilities. One of those responsibilities can be child support. In an agreement, parents could agree to pay child support or to support their child beyond the time when the child becomes an adult. Some parents elect to support their kids as they go to college or obtain higher education. As such, for some, child support does not end until the child reaches an older age.

Child support ending by statute

Under Texas law, there are several ways that a child support obligation can end. Those ways include:

  • The later of the child turning 18 years of age or graduation from high school;
  • The death of the child;
  • The marriage of the child; or
  • The legal emancipation of the child from the parents

Many child support payments end when a child graduates from high school or becomes an adult at the age of 18.

Child support enforcement and penalties for nonpayment

It is important that parents understand their child support obligations so that they stay ahead of their duties and do not fall into nonpayment. When a parent cannot or does not pay their ordered child support, they can face serious penalties. Those penalties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal or civil contempt of court;
  • Liens on property;
  • Lottery winnings interception;
  • Denial of passport; and
  • Loss of licensure through suspension

Most parents do not want to miss child support payments, but many do not know what to do when they cannot meet the mandates that have been imposed on them. Speaking with a family law attorney can help parents understand their child support obligations, when they will end, and what may happen if they fall behind on payments.


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