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Can you count on child support to pay your teen’s college costs?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Child Support

It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring a child into this world and raise them to adulthood. Simply giving birth can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Parents will have to pay for a child’s medical costs until they turn 18, along with their expenses for food, shelter, clothing and education.

Eventually, children will become independent and will no longer require support. However, if they intend to go to college, your children will probably need financial support until they finish their education. Will the Texas family courts grant you child support that lasts until your children finish college?

Texas child support ends sooner than that

According to state guidelines, Texas child support typically ends when a child turns 18 or when they graduate from high school, whichever happens later. If your child turns 18 in November and still has months before they graduate, child support will continue until they get their diploma.

Unfortunately, child support will likely not continue through the college years based on court orders alone. The courts typically can not compel a parent to support a child who is a legal adult and competent to provide for themselves like others of the same age.

You and your ex can cooperate to cover college costs

You can reach an agreement regarding college tuition that goes beyond what the courts would do. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to put a child through university. Neither you nor your ex may be in a position to handle all of those expenses alone.

If you work cooperatively, you can potentially provide more financial support to your child as they start their adult life. The two of you can agree to support arrangements that significantly deviate from the standard rules in the state. Your ex could agree to make specific payments when your child attends college or to pay a specific portion of the total costs during their college years.

Either approach can be a way for you to ensure you have support while paying for the foundation of your child’s professional future. Even if the two of you disagree quite a bit about support and custody matters, you may be able to reach an agreement about how important attending college will be for your child.

Learning about and appropriately applying Texas child support laws when negotiating custody and support arrangements can help families make the best of the difficult situation.