Can Child Support Continue After 18?
The answer to this question is, "yes." Although child support typically lasts until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, the Texas Family Code makes an exception to the general rule if the child has a disability.
According to the Texas Family Code, a "child" is a son or daughter of any age and an "adult child" is any child that is 18 years of age or older.
Should a child be disabled, the statute provides for the indefinite payment of child support, if so ordered by the court. This payment of indefinite child support may be ordered against either or both parents. The disability exception to the general rule is the only time that a court can order that support to be paid after the child reaches 18 years of age, or graduates from high school, whichever comes last.
The exception comes into play where the child suffers from some disability that either manifested itself, or was known to exist, prior to the child reaching the age of 18. The disabling condition may be either mental or physical, and there is no requirement of institutionalization or hospitalization. Rather, the court can order indefinite child support upon a showing that:
- Substantial continuous care and personal supervision are required for the proper maintenance of the child, and
- The child is incapable of self-support
The court can order that such payments to be made to the parent of the child, or some other person having physical custody or guardianship. If the child is over 18 years-old, the court can order that the payments be made directly to the child.
Unfortunately, there is no exception to the general rule for those parents contemplating how they are going to pay, or continue to pay, for college tuition for their child or children. However, this and a litany of other issues which parents face following a divorce can be worked out during the divorce process. Virtually everything from the payment of college tuition to who will be responsible for the payment of health insurance can be negotiated and agreed upon between the parties, and included in the divorce decree.
To avoid having stumbling blocks arise after a divorce that could have easily been worked out in advance, it is extremely important to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney when having marital difficulties or contemplating divorce.
San Antonio attorney Allan R. Manka has nearly 40 years of experience in handling a wide array of family law matters and he can provide you the guidance you need during your divorce. He has established himself as a knowledgeable advocate for his clients, and is highly regarded by the judiciary and his peers.
He has represented clients in San Antonio and surrounding cities of New Braunfels, Seguin, Pleasanton, Lackland and Randolph Air Force Base, as well as other areas of south Texas.
Please contact us today to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial consultation to discuss your unique situation.