Question: If child support and a portion of college expenses are being paid by the non-custodial parent, does the visitation schedule still apply after high school graduation?
Does either parent have any visitation rights relative to the other parent once the child is 18?
Child support obligations and rights to parent time or custody to go hand-in-hand; that is, the payor does not automatically receive child support rights merely by paying (or being ordered to pay) support, although parent time suspension may be a remedy for willfully disobeying a support order and vice versa. Therefore, that the non-custodial parent pays support does not, absent more, mean the non-custodial parent has parenting time rights
Whether the non-custodial parent has parenting time rights depends on the language in the order that awarded custody and any subsequent modifications thereto. In Missouri, this may be embodied in your parenting time plan. Read the order carefully. Usually and in most states, the order will state that physical custody and parenting time rights terminate at “the age of majority” (which is 18, in most states). It the order is silent, the default rule usually is that the rights terminate at the age of majority, too. This is so even if child support obligations continue until the child completes school or reaches age 21, whichever first occurs.
I encourage you to read all of your orders carefully, paying close attention to language about “age of majority” and contact an attorney for case-specific information, as I can only give you this general information with the limited facts provided.
Keep in mind that I am a Michigan attorney and cannot give you detailed advice about the laws in Texas. You should not rely on this answer as establishing an attorney-client relationship, and you should contact an attorney in your area immediately if you need additional information or legal representation. Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys located in Missouri.
Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.