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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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My son turned 18 yrs. old in August 2012. I received a letter

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My son turned 18 yrs. old in August 2012. I received a letter from my local Child Support Office stating: my obligation was over. After about 3 months, Austin, Texas started sending be letters stating I was behind. I sent a copy of the local office letter and told them to stop writing because I was not behind and I no longer owed. I went to my local office and the women there( not the one that wrote the letter) told me I still had to pay because my son was still in school. My son has failed and was held back a year. He should already be out of High School. My question to the agent was : so if my son decides to not finish in May of this year, am I to keep paying until he's 20? What a Joke. But the jokes on me and I don't like it. What can I do? I have been faithful in my obligation all these years. I need HELP that won't cost a lot of money here in Dallas.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

The statute that governs your obligation is Sec. 154.001 of the Texas Family code. Under Texas you remain responsible for the child he turns 18 OR graduates, whichever occurs later. In your situation if the child was held back a year, he is not considered to be 'emancipated' or independent which is likely why you are being compelled to provide more support. However if he fails to graduate again, what you can do is file a petition, on your own, for 'emancipation'. In this petition you can claim that the child is now old enough to care for his needs, and that since he has chosen to not graduate, he has voluntarily emancipated himself from further assistance. While an attorney can help, you should be able to file this on your own and you should be able to convince the courts to drop this obligation against you.

Here is the relevant portion of the statute:

Sec. 154.001. SUPPORT OF CHILD. (a) The court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the order:

(1) until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;

(2) until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law;

(3) until the death of the child; or

(4) if the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.


Good luck!

Dimitry K., Esq. and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So my question now is, how can they go back on what I was released from? I have a letter(on state letter head) and signed by one of their case workers.

Thank you for your follow-up.

Technically they can go back on this because the initial letter that you received was erroneous. If your son never graduated from high school, he remained a minor, and your obligation to support him was likewise never removed. Their letter that they sent you was based on their assumption and belief that your son graduated. Since he did not, support continues. Because he never graduated the support order was never lifted since the support removal was contingent upon graduation. If it did not happen, then the support remains. You could potentially argue that by sending you the letter the state agency showed that he was emancipated but it is very weak argument. I honestly do not see it as being persuasive to the courts.

Good luck.