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Child support codes in Texas

Parents in Texas may benefit from reviewing the state's family code provisions regarding court-ordered child support. According to state law, one or both parents may be ordered to pay child support until the child either graduates high school or turns 18 years of age. Child support may also be terminated if the child is emancipated through marriage or if their death occurs. If the child suffers from a disability, child support may last indefinitely.

Even after parental rights have been terminated, if financial ability is a non-issue, a court may still approve a child support order. If the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services has been appointed temporary conservatorship over the child, parents that are financially able may still be ordered to pay periodic child support payments. Family courts typically order support payment through means of an annuity purchase, a lump-sum payment, periodic payment or any combination of the aforementioned.

Parents may also be ordered to pay retroactive child support, even if they were not party to the initial lawsuit when the order was first issued by the judge. Retroactive support may also be required if a previous order was terminated due to a new marriage or if the parents separated thereafter. However, the marital status of either parent is not a factor in determining the amount of child support ordered. Family code also prohibits a support order from being conditional according to custody or visitation rights.

People who need help understanding the state laws concerning child support may benefit from consulting a family lawyer. Legal counsel may also be able to assist parents with negotiating a fair parenting plan including a visitation schedule and rights to custody. Parents interested in obtaining a modification to a current visitation schedule or child support order may benefit from employing legal representation as well.

Source: statutes.legis.state.tx.us, "The Parent-Child Relationship and the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship", October 04, 2014

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