In Texas, the non-custodial parent is responsible for child support payments until the child's 18th birthday. According to the Texas Office of the Attorney General's Child Support Division, failure to pay current or back child support payments can result in income or tax refund interception, property liens, driver's license suspension, lawsuit filings and even incarceration.
Age of Majority
Texas' age of majority, or the age a child is legally considered an adult and no longer requires child support, is 18 years old. However, child support must be paid until the child turns 18 or he graduates high school, whichever event occurs first. If the child is disabled, the payments must be made until he is removed from the disability status through a court order, which can occur past his 18th birthday. If the child dies, marries or emancipates before his 18th birthday, child support payments are no longer required.
Read More: Can Child Support Be the Majority of Your Paycheck?
Paternity Establishment Statute of Limitations
Under Texas law, if a mother knows the presumed identity of the father, she has four years from the date of the child's birth to legally determine and document the father's identity. If there is no way of knowing, either through adjudication or acknowledgment, who the father was at the time of the child's birth, there is no statute of limitations on paternal establishment.
Arrears, or Back Payment Statute of Limitations
Child support cases in Texas that have gone into arrears, or back payment status, have no statute of limitations under the law. This means that if a non-custodial parent owes back child support, the payments can be enforced by law until the total owed money is paid, even if the child is older than 18.
Penalties for Unpaid Child Support
For every year that child support is delinquent in Texas, which occurs once a payment is more than 31 days past due, a 6-percent simple interest is added to the total sum of back payments due. This includes child support payments that are sought retroactively, but only from the date the first payment was requested.
Child Support Payment Modification
While only a court order can modify a child support agreement in Texas, several factors can require a change to the original payment schedule. For example, modifications can be requested by the custodial parent if there is a substantial change concerning the child, the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, or if the support payments have changed by an amount up to 20 percent or $100 in difference the previous court order. A custodial parent can also request modification automatically every three years under Texas law.