Child support payments are essential to help custodial parents continue to provide for the needs of their child or children. However, they aren’t intended to be permanent.
If you are currently making child support payments to the other parent, you should know when your obligation ends and how to stop child support payments in Texas when appropriate.
I routinely represent parents who care deeply for their children and do everything in their power to ensure they are well cared for. After years of making payments, they often wonder how to stop child support payments in Texas when there has been a major change in their circumstances.
If you’re wondering the same, I can help you with the answer. And, if your case qualifies for termination of payments, then we can work together to put the process in motion that will lead to the end of your child support payment obligations.
What’s Required to Stop Child Support Payments in Texas?
The Texas Family Code states that child support payments should last until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. There are exceptions to the rule you can attempt to pursue in court.
It’s important to note that child support orders do not terminate on their own, and a subsequent court order must terminate the original order for support.
Once you have been legally approved to stop making payments, I can help you file paperwork with the court and the Texas Attorney General’s office to end wages being garnished from your paycheck. Let’s examine some of the legal reasons why payments would be approved to cease.
Some children leave the nest earlier than 18 years of age and are fully capable of supporting themselves financially. Known as emancipation, this ruling is made by the court and relieves the parent providing child support of their duty to pay. Emancipation in Texas can occur at 16 or 17 years of age.
2. Death of a Child
The death of a child is a tragic occurrence with many legal implications. For parents who pay child support in Texas, it means an end to payments for the child who has passed away.
3. Medical Crisis Exemption
When the parent paying child support experiences a medical emergency or death is near, they may ask the court to relieve them of their child support obligations. The emergency must be debilitating and lasting.
4. Negative Paternity Test
A negative paternity test gives the man paying child support the right to petition the court to end his payments for a child who has been deemed not his offspring. This procedure also involves having the court terminate the parent-child relationship.
5. Other Parent Re-marries
The court will also consider situations where the parent of your child re-marries. In this case, the court will review whether the other parent can now provide for the child with the support of the new spouse and without your payments.
While this may seem cut and dry, you will still need legal support from an attorney to present this argument before the court because the other parent re-marrying does not automatically qualify you for the end of child support obligations. You must be able to prove that the other parent’s new financial position is sufficient to cover the child support payments.
What if I Lose My Job?
I am often asked whether job loss qualifies a person to stop making child support payments, and the answer is no: losing your job in Texas does not end your child support obligations.
In some cases, loss of employment may allow you to petition the court for a temporary reduction of your payments. Find out more about how to request this type of relief through the Texas court system.
Petitioning the Court to be Released of Obligations
If your case qualifies for a review of child support payments, your first step will be filing a petition for the court to formally discharge your obligation and terminate the order. I can help you file this petition.
In the meantime, one of the most important details regarding child support payments is that you need to continue paying until the court grants an order to end the child support order. You do not want to stop without an official decision from the court.
Even when your child reaches the age of 18, you must continue fulfilling your child support obligations until another order cancels the original one. If you stop your payments before a judge authorizes it, you could find yourself subject to a contempt of court charge.
Find Help with Stopping Child Support Payments
Child support orders exist for the best interests of the child. However, situations change that may relieve you of your payment obligation without compromising the child’s interests.
I represent parents throughout Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Harris Counties in all aspects of family law issues, including child support matters. If you are a resident in any of these counties and are wondering how to stop child support payments in Texas, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to set up a consultation. I am ready to discuss your situation and review available options to stop child support payments.