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Can I get Child Support for my Adult Child in Texas?

Recently I had a consult with a potential client who was inquiring about modifying a child support order. This is a very common occurrence over the course of a child’s life and something we see frequently in our office. However, there were a couple of wrinkles to her case. One was that her child had disabilities the others her child was 21.

In today’s blog, we will examine what is possible regarding extending Texas child support obligations regarding and adult child with disabilities.

Duty to Support your Child

In most child support cases in Texas, parents have the legal obligation to support their children until the child reaches the age of 18, or until the child stops going to high school whichever is later.

However, there are circumstances, where that is not always the case. If we examine Texas Family Code 154.001 where this duty recorded, we find that:

  1. The court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the order:
  1. until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
  2. The child remains unemancipated until marriage, a court order removes the disabilities of minority, or another legal operation occurs;
  3. The arrangement continues until the child’s death;
  4. For a child defined as disabled in this chapter, support extends for an indefinite period.

In reading this statute we learn it is possible for a court to extend child support obligations for a child that has a disability. We will discuss under what circumstances below.

Court Order Child Support for Disabled Child

The Texas Family Code Section 154.302 Provides that:

(a) The court may order either or both parents to provide for the support of a child for an indefinite period and may determine the rights and duties of the parents if the court finds that:

  1. the child, whether institutionalized or not, requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a mental or physical disability and will not be capable of self-support; and
  2. the disability exists, or the cause of the disability is known to exist, on or before the 18th birthday of the child.

(b) A court that orders support under this section shall designate a parent of the child or another person having physical custody or guardianship of the child under a court order to receive the support for the child. The court may designate a child who is 18 years of age or older to receive the support directly.

Who Can Bring a Case?

Can I get Child Support for my Adult Child in Texas?

Under Texas Family Code Section 153.303:

  1. A suit provided by this subchapter may be filed only by:
  1. a parent of the child or another person having physical custody or guardianship of the child under a court order; or
  2. the child if the child:

(A) is 18 years of age or older;

(B) does not have a mental disability;

And

(C) is determined by the court to be capable of managing the child’s financial affairs.

(D) The parent, the child, if the child is 18 years of age or older, or other person may not transfer or assign the cause of action to any person, including a governmental or private entity or agency, except for an assignment made to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104 or in the provision of child support enforcement services under Section 159.307.

An Independent Lawsuit or as Part of a Lawsuit

Texas Family Code Section 154.306 provides that an “action seeking support of an adult disabled child may be brought as part of another action or as an independent.”

How Much Child Support can a Court Order After Age 18?

Under the Texas Family Code Section 153.306:

When determining the conditions of child support, along with the rights and duties of both parents, the court must give special consideration to:

  • The current and future needs of the adult child, especially those related to any mental or physical disability and the extensive care and supervision this disability necessitates.
  • Whether the parent is, or will be, paying for or providing significant care or supervision to the adult child.
  • The financial resources each parent has for supporting, caring for, and supervising the adult child.
  • Any other financial or resourceful programs available for the adult child’s support, care, and supervision.

Interestingly, the court does not explicitly list child support guidelines, but they are not excluded either, potentially forming part of the court’s considerations.

Possession and Access of Adult Disabled Child

Can I get Child Support for my Adult Child in Texas?

Much like children under age 18 a Court under Texas Family Code Section 154.309 can:

  1. A court may render an order for the possession of or access to an adult disabled child that is appropriate under the circumstances.
  2. Possession of or access to an adult disabled child is enforceable in the manner provided by Chapter 157. An adult disabled child may refuse possession or access if the adult disabled child is mentally competent.
  3. A court that obtains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a suit affecting the parent child relationship involving a disabled person who is a child retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of subsequent proceedings involving the person, including proceedings after the person is an adult. Notwithstanding this subsection and any other law, a probate court may exercise jurisdiction in a guardianship proceeding

Proof of the Needs of the Child

In cases involving a disabled child there will need to be proof regarding the needs of the child even if that child has a disability when seeking support for that disabled child.

The big questions that would be answered in the scenario I discussed in the beginning according to the statute are:

  1. Did the disability exist prior to the child turning 18? And
  2. Whether the child requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a mental or physical disability and is not be capable of self-support

Final Thoughts

In summary, while seeking child support for an adult child in Texas can be complex, it is possible under certain conditions. It’s important to understand the specific legal requirements and consult with a legal expert to navigate this process effectively.

Ebook

Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce

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  7. Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
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  10. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with a Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyer in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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