In Texas, the age of majority is 18. When a child reaches this age, they are considered to be emancipated, and their parents are no longer responsible for providing care or support for them. However, there are some circumstances in which a child may become emancipated before reaching the age of majority.
For example, children may marry before the age of majority or enter into military service; both of these actions can result in a child's emancipation. Additionally, if a child leaves the family home or becomes economically independent, they could seek emancipation.
If a noncustodial parent is obligated to pay child support, they may no longer have to make payments once their child becomes emancipated. However, this obligation does not end automatically. A parent must make a request with the necessary court to stop providing support. There are also situations where a parent may be required to continue paying support even after a child becomes emancipated or gets to the age of majority. An example of this is when a child has special needs.
Noncustodial parents can change their child support obligations before their children reach the age of majority or become emancipated. Since child support is usually based on income, if a parent's income level drops significantly, they may be able to successfully petition for a child support modification. Modifications may allow someone to temporarily or permanently reduce the amount of child support that they are required to pay each month. A lawyer could assist a parent in petitioning for a modification.