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Do Parents of Disabled Children Pay Child Support Forever?

 Posted on August 12, 2022 in Divorce

san antonio divorce lawyerParents of minor children in Texas generally stop paying child support when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, which comes last. This is based on the assumption that a legal adult is competent to provide for themselves and that, while a parent can still help the child if he or she wishes, there is no longer a legal obligation to send child support funds to the child’s other parent. 

Some children, however, are never able to become fully self-sufficient. Physical or mental disabilities can prevent an adult from functioning normally, often leaving them completely dependent on their parents for the rest of their lives. In cases like this, the Texas legislature makes an exception to the typical termination of child support payments. If you are getting divorced and have a disabled adult child, you are likely wondering what this law means for you. 

Adult Child Support

According to Texas law, if a child is over 18 and the following conditions exist, child support may be ordered indefinitely: 

  • The child is not and will not be capable of self-support

  • The child requires substantial care and supervision 

  • The disability existed before the 18th birthday of the child 

A court must designate one parent, or another person, to be the guardian of the disabled adult. Sometimes this involves physical custody, and sometimes it does not; for example, an adult with Down Syndrome may want to live in a residential center that offers an element of independence. 

The child can receive the support themselves, if appropriate, or payments can be made from one parent to the other. Both parents may also be ordered to pay child support into a trust that is managed on behalf of the child. 

Will Paying Adult Child Support Affect My Retirement? 

While parents usually want to support their disabled children, there may also be a concern that ordered child support payments may exceed a parent’s ability to both support their child and save for retirement. When a judge is determining support payments for an adult child, he or she can consider: 

  • The child’s needs 

  • Whether the parent will pay child support or provides supervision and care for the child

  • The parent’s financial resources 

  • The financial resources available to the child, such as those available through Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid 

Meet with a San Antonio, TX Adult Child Support Lawyer

At Brandon Wong & Associates, our experienced Bexar County child support attorney are here to help you get fair representation and understand your legal obligations under Texas law. To learn more about your options, schedule a comprehensive consultation with us by giving us a call today at 210-201-3832




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