Angela Faye Brown & Associates, PLLC

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Do Texas parents have to pay child support during the college years?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Child Support

Parents have many responsibilities to their children. They need to provide them with basic needs and to spend time with the children to guide their development as they mature. Parents are also responsible for ensuring that children receive an appropriate education and necessary medical treatment. However, those obligations generally end when a child reaches adulthood.

When the parents of minor children separate or end a marriage, the courts may order child support to better ensure that children benefit from a proper financial foundation. In Texas, the family courts can order one parent to make monthly payments to the other based on many factors, including the income of both parents and the division of parenting time. Yet, that support order won’t continue through the college years unless the children in question have extraordinary medical needs and will continue to be fully dependent on their parents during adulthood.

The courts generally can’t order college child support

The rules for child support in Texas require that parents provide financial support until their children turn 18. However, if the child reaches their 18th birthday before graduating from high school, the support may continue until they obtain their diploma. Sadly, child support will not continue into the college years unless a child graduates from high school before turning 18 and enrolls in college early.

Even then, the support likely will not accurately reflect the various expenses created by college enrollment. Although the courts will not order someone to pay support for children going to college, they can approve settlements between the parents that include agreements to share the cost of college for their children.

Parents can commit to providing specific amounts toward tuition during the college years or possibly reach arrangements to divide the cost with each parent paying a certain percentage of the total amount. Either approach can help ensure that both parents in the family contribute to the ongoing educational expenses of the children.

Without an agreement, it may be much more difficult to ensure that there will be contributions from both parents toward college expenses after a separation or divorce in Texas. Learning more about child support rules can help people know what to ask for and what they can expect to pay.