Protecting Your Family's Future

Divorce, Children’s College Costs and Texas Law: What Are Your Rights as a Parent?

Divorce and the Costs of a Child’s College Education in Texas

As a noncustodial parent, you want to give your child all the opportunities that you can, and you want to do your best to ensure that their financial needs are met. The important question, though, is when your support should end. You may want your child to attend college, as you expect that it will better prepare them for success in today’s world. But should payment of college expenses be ordered by the court? Should you agree to pay child support until they complete college?

Texas Law Governing the Duration of Child Support

Under Texas statutes, a noncustodial parent must pay child support until the child becomes a legal adult at the age of 18. The court has the discretion to order that support continue until the child graduates from high school, if the child reaches the age of 18 before graduation. The court can also establish in a support order that support will terminate if the child becomes emancipated for any other reason, such as marriage, military service or moving out on his or her own.

The Texas courts, however, do not have the authority to order child support beyond age 18 or high school graduation, except in limited circumstances. For example, if a child is physically or mentally impaired and cannot function as an adult, the court may order support for an indefinite period of time.

The parties to a divorce may, of their own accord, agree to the extension of child support beyond what the law permits, or they may agree to share the costs of a college education. However, the court always has the discretion to review the proposed agreement and determine whether it was entered into willingly by both parties. If the court determines that there was undue influence or duress, such an agreement may be thrown out.

Questions About Divorce, Children’s College Costs and Texas Law: What Are Your Rights as a Parent? Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in relocation issues, child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about how to stop your ex from moving away with your child, or other custody, divorce, or family law matters, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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