You’re getting a divorce, and because you have children, you know you will be ordered to pay child support. By now, you may even know exactly how much you will have to pay because the Court has carefully calculated everything. But one question remains, and it’s something we hear a lot: How long do I have to pay child support?
While there are obvious exceptions, and laws and guidelines differ from state to state, Texas law requires the obligated parent pay child support until their child is 18 or graduates high school (whichever is later).
If you and your spouse have one 8-year-old child at the time your payments begin, the math is pretty easy. You’ll be paying for at least 10 years. If you have four or five children, you’ll continue to pay some form of child support until they’ve all reached the age where they’re no longer considered minors.
A potential exception to this is if your child has special needs or certain disabilities that will keep them from caring for and providing for themselves even as they reach adulthood. In these cases, you will be made aware of your obligations.
The court will use the same child-support guidelines to calculate payment, but it must also take into consideration:
- Existing vs. future needs
- Parent-provided care vs. third-party care
- Parent’s financial resources
- Any other financial resources
You can read more about child support for an adult disabled child here.
Parents have a legal duty to …
Since we are on the topic of child support, this is a friendly reminder that parents have a duty to support their children. This includes providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education. This duty begins at the birth of the child and requires the parents to provide more than the bare necessities.
Suppose parents fail to provide for the support of their children. In that case, they can be held liable to other people who support their child, face criminal liability for non-support, and even have their parental rights terminated. Accordingly, child support in a divorce or other suit affecting the parent-child relationship is simply how the legal system tells the parents how to share their already existing legal duty when they are not doing so willingly.
Not paying child support will catch up to you. Here are just a few ways a parent can be punished for not staying current or refusing to pay entirely.
- Stiff fines
- Jail time
- Payment of attorney fees of person you owe the support to.
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Liens on bank accounts, retirement, life insurance, and real property
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
To speak directly to those parents who are divorced and are actively avoiding paying child support, one of our more recent blog posts lays out four reasons why you should be happy making your payments. Here’s a hint: it’s not about you anymore. In the meantime, if you are faced with a situation where your former spouse is not paying child support, it is wise to seek help from a knowledgeable divorce and child support lawyer.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A Nelson, click here.