Texan parents who receive child support payments from ex-spouses and others may be interested to know that their child support eligibility depends on numerous factors. Although child support generally ceases upon a child's 18th birthday or their graduation from high school, extenuating circumstances and personal living situations may extend an absent parent's responsibility to pay. For instance, the parents of children with special medical or mental care needs may continue receiving court-ordered payments.
Children who haven't reached the age of majority may become emancipated or legally recognized as self-supporting. Minors can gain this status in a few different ways, such as becoming part of the armed services or getting married. According to legal advisers, economic independence is the main deciding factor for emancipation; parents generally don't have to provide support to children who leave home early and sustain themselves.
In some cases, courts may modify child support payments or terms. Parents can also seek such adjustments to deal with factors like ongoing disabilities that result in financial hardships or job losses. Even in cases where child support agreements remain unchanged, however, obligations don't end without direct intervention. Once a parent believes their obligation to be satisfied, they need to petition the court for the right to stop paying.
Even though child support payments are supposed to help parents raise their children, improperly planned agreements can make it harder to sustain adequate finances. Parents whose payments are higher than they can afford may become delinquent, and while courts can go after these individuals, their children and ex-spouses still suffer through financial hardships in the meanwhile. Many couples consult with legal professionals during their divorces so that they can plan support agreements that actually work.