About Texas Child Support – Part 3 of 4

When does child support end in Texas???

That’s a question we hear often around our office.  In this part of our 4 part child support posts, we’ll discuss when and how child support payments end in Texas.

There are several events that can lead to the termination of the Obligor’s child support obligation. The first and most common is when the child turns 18 or the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. This provision is very important because it can extend the child support obligation past the child turning the age of 18 if the child is still going to school to obtain a high school diploma. If the child drops out of high school after turning 18 or does not meet minimum attendance requirements where they are enrolled, the child support obligation can terminate before the child obtains a high school diploma.

Two other events that can lead to the termination of child support are if the child gets married or if the child enlists in the armed forces of the United States. These events can terminate the Obligor’s child support obligation even if the child has not reached the age of 18. They can also terminate the child support obligation even if the child is 18 and is currently enrolled in a program to obtain a high school diploma.

The removal of the disabilities of minority of the child by the court can also lead to the termination of child support. The best example of this is if the court emancipates the child before the child reaches the age of 18.  Lastly, the obligation to pay child support will terminate upon the death of the child. The obligation to pay child support, however, does not necessarily terminate upon the death of the Obligor. The court can order the Obligor’s child support obligation to survive the death of the Obligor and it will then become an obligation of the estate of the Obligor.

Upon the termination of child support for one of the above reasons, or the reduction of child support in a case in which support is being paid for more than one child, it might be necessary to get an order from Court to stop wage withholding.  If your child support is automatically being withheld from your paycheck, you should check with your HR department and look at the wage withholding order several months before the support obligation should end.  If the order provides for a termination date, then you are probably okay, but double check with your employer to make sure they understand they’re to stop the withholding on that date.  If there is no termination date, you should see a lawyer so that an order can be obtained to stop the withholding.  It’s best to start this process several months before the withholding should stop.

In our last part of this series, I’ll discuss modifying child support.  As that is a pretty extensive topic, we might break it into two posts.  If you have any questions about these posts, or if you need help with a child support problem of your own, feel free to contact our office through our website at http://www.cokerlegal.com.


  1. Marvin Williams says:

    Good article. I am the non-custodial joint managing conservator and my daughter turned 18 this October and would have had enough credits to graduate this December, but my ex-wife pulled her out of public school in May 2010, without notifying or discussing it with me ; only to enroll our daughter in an online school that is in Pennsylvania and not accredited in Texas which has extended her graduation until August 2013. Now they are trying to sue me to extend child support. How can they get away with that?

  2. We would be happy to set a consult with you to discuss this matter, however, we only represent clients in Denton and Collin Counties. If you are in this area, and would like to meet with one of our lawyers, please feel free to contact our office ((940) 566-6649. This is not an uncommon situation and, depending on the specific facts in your case, and your Order, you might be able to stop the support.

  3. I have a 17 yr. old pregnant daughter who’s mother has allowed a grown man(18) to move in and live. I have had no visitation nor any rights. She has moved away due to a cps case in her home. Informed police but due to her moving its out of there jurisdiction. I don’t know where they are and I pay child support and have joint custody. I got my child support pymts reduced and she said I wouldn’t see my daughter again and that she isn’t my kid anyway. So what can I do to stop child support? Oh did I mention I’m disabled.

  4. Your comment raises a number of issues: some of them enforcement issues (enforcing your right to visitation, for example) and some of them modification issues, including what amount, if any, of child support you should be paying if you are disabled. Further, it might be possible to seek disability payments and have those applied toward your support obligation. I would suggest that you make an appointment to visit with a good family lawyer in the county in which the case is currently pending to discuss your case in detail and find out your options.

  5. My daughter graduates in August and turns 17 in September and no longer lives at home. She lives with her sister who is19 and they both have full time jobs. They pay their own bills and groceries. Her mother recently moved out of state and she had custody. My daughter doesn’t want to live with me or my ex. Can I get my child support stopped when my daughter turns 17 now that she is no longer living at home and already has the credits to graduate in August?

  6. It might be possible to have your support reduced or eliminated under those circumstances. It does not make sense to pay support to her mother if she is truly not providing any support for your daughter. You should see a good family lawyer in your area right away, though, as the Court can only reduce or eliminate support back to the date that you file your Petition requesting the change. In other words, every month you wait is another month you have lost the opportunity to change.

  7. Well informed article thank you. So your child attending college has nothing to do with prolonged child support payments in Texas? Just the age 18 or graduate from high school whichever comes last? Correct?

  8. That is correct. Under Texas law, a person’s child support obligation would end at the later of those two events. However, parents can, and sometimes do, contract for support, including for payment of college expenses, after those dates. That is simply a contractual agreement, which is enforceable under contract law, and not a typical child support obligation.

  9. My son should be a senior this year but has only enough credits to be a freshmen. He has up to 40 zeroes in math for example for the last three years. He has been put in three different schools. He is not enrolled in anything he told me he was going to do a online program but has no prof of enrollment. Last school year he had a extrem amount of absents and tradies. He will be 18in Feb do I have any options to stop support? Thank you for your help

  10. You should definitely visit with a good family lawyer in your jurisdiction (the County in which your case is pending). You should take a copy of the Order and go prepared to talk specifics about your son’s scholastic history and what’s expected going forward. There is sometimes room to make changes when the Court finds that the child is not making real progress toward graduating, but these cases are very fact-specific and should be discussed in depth with a good lawyer.

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