Article No. 2 in the Tx Child Support Series, Longworth Law Firm, P.C.
Child Support and College in Texas
When does child support end in Texas?
In Texas, just like everywhere else in the United States, parents are obligated to support their children whether the parents are married or not.
Most divorced parents are often not sure of how they will support their children as they grow up and eventually go to college. In addition, financial support for college is sometimes overlooked, yet it is possible for a parent to get assistance in paying for college from their ex.
Texas Child Support Laws
The Texas Family Code indicates that it is the right of the parent to direct the moral and religious training of a child.
The parent also has the right to provide an education and financial support for the child. In some states the duty of a parent includes paying for college related expenses even after a divorce.
However, parents in Texas are only required to make child support payments until the child turns 18 or until they graduate from high school. But the parents are free to include a college support agreement in their final divorce decree.
Chapter 154 Tx Family Code
College Student Child Support Agreements
Only a college support agreement that is made in writing is enforceable. You should not rely on verbal agreements no matter how sincere or amicable the divorce was. The reason for this is that people can change their minds when their circumstances change. For example, the other parent may remarry and have more children and more commitments. To craft an effective college support agreement you should do the following:
- Account for the cost of tuition
- Consider the expenses such as allowance, transportation, room and board and more
- The percentage of college expenses each parent will pay
- Will payments be given to the college, the child or to the other parent
- What conditions the child will have to meet
Remember to cap the college support agreement because college costs can change in the future. You can do this by agreeing on a lump sum payment for a particular number of semesters. Another choice you could make is invest the lump sum and only avail it when the child is going to college.
What if there was no college support agreement?
Parents do not have to provide college support for their children after a divorce. Fortunately, if the parents did not originally create a college support agreement during the divorce process, they can still modify the terms of their child support agreement if:
- If it has been more than three years after the child support agreement was altered
- The desired amount differs by $100 or 20 percent since the agreement was altered
- If there has been substantial change that has occurred since the original order
The order can only be modified in a court hearing or through the child support review process. Consult an attorney if you want to add a college support agreement to your divorce settlement or want to alter the terms of your child support agreement. An experienced lawyer can work with you to ensure that the best interests of your children are protected in that process.