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Minor parents, Texas law for child support and the next friend

It is not unusual in Texas for a minor to be the parent of a child. While children must be cared for and supported regardless of the ages of the parents, there are different laws when it comes to a parent who is a minor. Minors are not viewed as adults when it comes to civil issues. Because of that, an adult representative must be present when legal issues are at stake. This includes supporting children.

If there is a child support enforcement issue or anything related to the case, the minor needs to provide a name and personal information of an adult who can function as what is called a next friend. This is how an adult representation is referenced. The next friend protects the rights of the minor. He or she makes certain that the minor fully understands the legal issues that are being decided. The next friend can be a parent, a legal guardian or a person who is appointed by the court. This next friend must accompany the minor to any legal proceedings but will not be responsible for making any payments that the minor is ordered to make in a support agreement.

If a legal guardian cannot function as the minor's next friend, the minor parent is able to bring a trusted adult who is willing to function in the role. If there is an appointment necessary, the court will decide who it will be. There are instances in which a parent is not willing to be the next friend. If that is the case, a guardian ad litem or attorney ad litem can function as a representative.

Minor parents have to face the same problems in providing support to a custodial parent and having a support agreement. Because they are not of age to make the decisions on their own, they will have to have a next friend to protect them. If this is a concern when it comes to a child support case, speaking to a legal professional can be beneficial for the minor parent and the next friend.

Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, "Minor Parents," accessed on Nov. 30, 2015

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