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Will you need child support for your special needs child after age 18?

Today's blog post from the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will discuss matters related to child support considerations to take when your child has special needs. Specifically whether or not you will need to plan for and negotiate for the ability for you to receive child support after your child turns eighteen or graduates from high school. If you have not done so already, I recommend that you go back to yesterday's blog post to read about raising a child with special needs.

Child Support law in Texas

Child Support will typically come to an end for the owing parent (called an Obligor) whenever their child either turns eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. So long as your child is eighteen when they graduate from high school, your child support obligation should stop at least according to your Final Decree of Divorce. Any support you choose to or choose not to provide at that point is up to you and your sense of what your child needs to thrive.

However, if your child has special needs, their ability to pick up and start to support themselves after graduation from high school is not always possible. There are functioning adults with disabilities that help themselves, certainly. Many others are not as fortunate. If your ex-spouse is charged with caring for your unique needs child, then the financial burdens associated with doing so can be pretty onerous. Removing a steady source of income in the form of your child support can be extremely tough to deal with as a result.

When it comes to children with disabilities and special needs, the State of Texas has acknowledged that there is often a need and a justification for extending out the obligation for an obligor parent to pay child support past the eighteenth birthday, even if your child does not graduate from high school.

How special needs children can receive child support after age 18

In the Texas Family Code, some laws provide an option for child support to continue for a special needs child beyond their 18th birthday. To quality, a child must require care and supervision on a personal level due to their mental or physical disability. As we discussed earlier in this blog post, your special needs child is unlikely to be able to support themselves after they turn 18. This needs to be proven to have child support extended into the age of majority for your child.

If you are a parent who will have primary conservatorship rights to your particular needs child, then it would be ideal for you to be able to take into consideration the future needs of your child during a divorce or child custody case. This allows you to negotiate for specific provisions in your final orders that can provide for child support beyond the age of 18. Getting this squared away relatively early in your child's life and negating any future need to come to the courthouse is an excellent combination of achievements for one family law case.

If your child develops special needs after your initial child custody or divorce case, you can come back to have the issue discussed by filing another lawsuit requesting that your child be able to receive child support past the age of 18. In some instances, even your adult child can bring the suit him or herself, but you as the parent would file this case in most situations.

A judge's considerations to make when deciding whether to order child support past age 18

The judge will need to weigh whether or not your child will require the requisite care, attention, and supervision that the law states in the Texas Family Code make post-18 support possible. You and the child's other parent are potentially on the hook to support this instance. Whereas most children who receive child support are paid through the Office of the Attorney General, adult disabled children are often given the ability to be paid directly by a parent or parents.

How much money can be ordered to be paid for the care of a disabled adult child?

We've spent most of today's blog post going over the circumstances in which a judge would be justified in ordering continued child support for a child over the age of 18. On the other end of the spectrum, if we consider how much a court can award in support in terms of money, the law is not nearly as specific.

The judge will likely approach this question based on your child's specific needs. Your child's current and future needs relating to care and supervision are to be considered. This means medical attention and third-party assistance if necessary. If one parent states that they will provide the majority of direct care for the child daily, this too will be taken into consideration. Finally, the financial resources available to you and your child's other parent will be considered. If both of you are doing well financially, it is possible that a judge could order more sizeable amounts of child support to be paid.

Questions or concerns about child support for your disabled or special needs child? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

If, after reading this blog post, you have concluded that your child will need support after they turn 18, then the best way to ensure that this support is received is to be proactive. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today to discuss our office's services for you and your family.

Our licensed family law attorneys work on behalf of clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family. A free-of-charge consultation is only a phone call away.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Child Support Order Modification (Part 2)
  2. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  3. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  4. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  5. Texas Child Support Appeals
  6. In Texas, are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  7. Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
  8. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  9. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  10. How to get above guideline child support.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, TX Child Support and Custody Lawyers

Our Spring, TX Child Support and Custody Lawyers are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Child Support cases in Spring, TX or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Grimes County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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