Child Support For Children With Disabilities FAQs:
Some of our listeners may have a disabled child. Will Texas courts order a higher amount of child support when there is a disabled child in the family? How does that work?
Certainly. In Texas, we have provisions that allow our courts to order support for a disabled child whether they’re a minor or an adult. Under our Family Code, a child is defined as being disabled whether they’re institutionalized or not if they require substantial care and personal supervision because of either mental or physical disabilities, if they’re not capable of self-support, and the disability existed or the cause of disability is known to exist on or before the 18th birthday of that child.
Often with minor disabled children, one spouse is going to have primary custody of the children and the other will pay child support. If the parent with custody can show the child has proven needs on a monthly basis that exceed the child support amount, then the court can take a look at what those proven needs are, whether they’re medical bills or counseling or therapy; or maybe it’s just people that have to watch the child while mom’s at work or after school. If the child has proven needs, then our courts have the ability to assign to one party or the other a percentage of those costs, or a fixed amount over and above child support. They look at what the proven needs of the child are on a monthly basis and then look at the resources of the parties and allocate those expenses in an equitable manner.
Once the disabled child turns 18, then the court can order that the support continue beyond 18 or graduation from high school, which is when our child support in Texas would traditionally terminate. Again, depending on what the proven needs of that child continue to be and looking at the resources of the parties and their ability to pay, then the court can allocate the different costs amongst the parents of the child.