In Texas, child support obligations typically terminate when a child reaches the age of 18, graduates from high school (whichever comes later), or becomes emancipated. However, for parents with a disabled child, the situation becomes more nuanced.

This article explores the legalities surrounding child support for disabled children in Texas and when such support might continue beyond the standard cut-off points.

Understanding Child Support Termination in Texas

Texas Family Code prioritizes a child’s well-being, ensuring financial support from both parents until they reach a point of self-sufficiency. Traditionally, this is assumed to happen by the age of 18 or high school graduation, whichever is later.

However, a child with a disability might not be able to achieve self-support by the standard cut-off points. In such cases, Texas law allows for extending child support obligations for an adult disabled child.

Qualifying for Extended Child Support for a Disabled Adult Child

To qualify for extended child support for a disabled adult child in Texas, the following criteria must be met:

  • The disability must be substantial and existed before the child turned 18. This means the disability significantly limits the child’s ability to perform daily activities or hold a job. The disability must also have been present or its cause known before the child’s 18th birthday.
  • The disability requires ongoing substantial care and supervision. This implies the child needs assistance with basic needs like bathing, dressing, or managing finances due to the disability.

Note: The burden of proof falls on the parent seeking extended support to demonstrate the child’s disability and need for ongoing care. This may involve presenting medical records, expert testimony, and an evaluation of the child’s current living situation and future needs.

How to Obtain Extended Child Support for a Disabled Adult Child

There are two primary ways to obtain extended child support for a disabled adult child in Texas:

  • Modification of an Existing Child Support Order: If you already have a child support order in place, you can file a motion with the court to modify it. This motion should detail the child’s disability, the need for ongoing support, and the requested amount of extended support.
  • Filing a New Child Support Suit: If there is no existing child support order or the child has already reached adulthood, a lawsuit can be filed seeking child support for the disabled adult child.

Important Considerations

  • Involvement of an Attorney: The legal process for obtaining extended child support can be complex. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney familiar with disability law is highly recommended.
  • Gathering Evidence: Building a strong case requires comprehensive documentation of the child’s disability, their current and future needs, and the potential costs associated with their care.

Contact Lundberg Law Today

If you have a disabled child in Texas and are unsure about your child support obligations or potential for extended support, contact Lundberg Law today. We understand the unique challenges faced by families with disabled children and can guide you through the legal process to ensure your child receives the financial support they deserve.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out – we are here to help.

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