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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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When does a child support order end?

By law, a child is entitled to get financial support from both parents. In cases where the parents are divorced or where one parent has primary or sole custody, the other parent may be ordered to pay child support. The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division can enter either by a court or Child support. Many child support orders clearly state when the payments will end. If the order does not specify when the support ends, this post covers what you need to know.

Under Texas law, a child support order typically ends when the child turns the age of 18 or when the child graduates from high school, whichever happens later. In some cases, child support can end before the child turns 18 or graduates high school. In other cases, child support can continue even after one of these two events occurs.

Child support may end before the child turns 18 if the minor child becomes emancipated. The term emancipation refers to a court process by which a minor is legally declared an adult. An emancipated minor is no longer entitled to receive child support.

Texas law allows minors to become emancipated in certain circumstances. The minor must either be 17 years old (or 16 years old and living apart from his or her parents) and must be self-supporting. The most common examples are if a minor gets married or joins the military.

Moreover, child support may continue even after the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. If the child has special needs or disabilities, a parent may still be ordered to pay child support, even if the child is over the age of 18. In this situation, child support may continue indefinitely or until a court makes a finding that the child no longer needs support.

There are two other circumstances where child support can end. The first is if someone else adopts the child. The second circumstance is upon the death of the child.

Keep in mind that a child support order does not end automatically. There are procedures that a parent must follow to legally end his or her child support payments. To get help modifying or terminating a child support order, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.  


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