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How to Stop Child Support
Every state recognizes that each parent is responsible for providing support for their children, whether the child lives with each parent or not. However, there are many circumstances when the family court should no longer have jurisdiction of the case or when child support should otherwise end.
By Court Order
Some court orders may specify that child support ends on a particular date. This may be pursuant to an order only regarding child support or as part of a family law case, such as a divorce action.
If the court order is silent on the subject, child support may terminate according to state law. If there are no provisions to the contrary, state law may require the termination of child support if the child is no longer a minor. This is usually 18. However, many states have provisions that allow child support to continue after the child’s 18th birthday until he graduates high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
State law may also require termination of the child support obligation if the child marries, joins the armed forces, is adopted by another person, was emancipated in a legal fashion or if the parent’s rights have been terminated. If any of these circumstances apply, the Child Support Enforcement Agency may automatically pursue child support termination.
Alternatively, either parent may need to inform the agency of the circumstance that requires termination. This is often conducted as part of an administrative process. The paying party should contact his or her employer if his income is subject to automatic withholding and provide the termination order.
Even if the parents reconcile, child support is not usually automatically terminated. Instead, the Child Support Enforcement Agency will continue to collect child support. However, either parent can petition to end the child support order with the court. The court has the discretion to decide whether or not to end the order. It may be more likely to do so if the parents of the child are living together, potentially eliminating the need for ongoing support. State law usually requires the child support to end if the parents marry each other.
Modification of Child Support
The parents may agree that child support should end because of other reasons. For example, the child may move out of the parent’s home. He or she may move in with the parent who has been paying. The parent may provide assets to the recipient parent in lieu of payments. If the parents agree that child support should be terminated and a material change has occurred since child support was ordered, the parents may file a joint petition to the court asking the court to terminate the order.
Even if the parents do not agree that child support should be supported, one of the parents can file a complaint to modify the child support order. The moving party has the burden to show why the child support order should terminate, based on legal and factual circumstances.
Individuals who would like to terminate an existing child support order may wish to discuss the circumstances with a family law lawyer. He or she may be able to inform the parent if a legal proceeding is necessary or if family law facilitators or a child support enforcement agency may be able to effectuate the change without the need for the parent to attend a hearing. A family law lawyer can also explain the process of modifying an existing child support order and the legal requirements to achieve this.