When a Texas court is considering a child support order, the parents might have a vague notion as to how long that support order will last. The court will base its decision on a child support formula. Any court order or agreement will likely result in one parent having to make monthly payments. If the obligor fails to make those child support payments, that parent will face penalties. However, child support obligations do not last forever; under Texas law, certain triggers or occurrences will end the parent's requirement to pay child support. If the paying parent is not aware of these qualifying events, they may end up paying more than they have to.
There are certain times when the obligation to make child support payments will cease. These are in effect unless there is an agreement, in writing, to the contrary. The following events will result in child support obligations being terminated: the marriage of the child; the removal of disabilities the child has; and the child's death.
In addition, if the court finds that the child is 18-years-old or above and has not complied with the requirement to attend high school through to graduation, the parent can stop paying child support. Furthermore, if there is an order terminating the relationship between parent and child and the obligor was eliminated as a parent through genetic testing, the payments can end. Finally, if the child enlists in the U.S. armed forces, the paying parent can stop making payments.
Parents who are adhering to an order to pay support should be cognizant of the factors that can result in no longer having to pay. If there is a dispute or confusion regarding payment and when it can be stopped, speaking to an attorney experienced in child support issues can be helpful in dealing with the case.
Source: Texas Family Code, "Sec. 154.006. Termination Of Duty Of Support.," accessed on Mar. 1, 2016