Can Child Support Payments Be Terminated?

Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the welfare of a child, particularly when parents are no longer together. It is a legal obligation that ensures the child’s basic needs are met.

However, there may be circumstances where a parent might wonder if these payments can be terminated. In this blog, we delve deeper into the conditions under which child support payments can be terminated in Texas.

Our experienced child support lawyers in the Woodlands are here to help with your case, so contact Bolton Law today.

The Standard Rule for Child Support Termination in Texas

In Texas, the general guideline is that child support ceases when the child reaches 18 years of age or completes high school, depending on which event happens last. However, there are certain circumstances where this rule may not apply.

Exceptions to the Standard Rule

Per the Texas Family Code 154.001, the obligation of parents to provide child support persists until one of the following scenarios unfolds:

  1. The child reaches the age of 18 or completes high school, with the later event being the determinant.
  2. The child achieves emancipation via marriage, by a court order lifting the disabilities of minority, or through other legal means.
  3. The child passes away.

Before reaching 18, a child can be legally emancipated if they get married, enlist in the U.S. military, or successfully convince the court to release them from parental control. In all these cases, the court will necessitate evidence before it terminates the child support duties.

Average Child Support Payments

On an annual basis, the average child support due amounts to $5,760, which breaks down to less than $500 per month. However, only 60% of this amount, averaging $3,447 per year, is actually received. This means that custodial single parents who are recipients of child support typically receive around $287 per month.

These funds significantly contribute to covering various expenses such as food, shelter, clothing, medical costs, education, and other incidentals. The role of child support in Texas is indispensable in maintaining the financial stability and overall well-being of children.

Child Support Termination in Texas

Extension of Child Support in Texas

In some instances, if a child has a physical or mental disability necessitating significant care and supervision, and this disability was present prior to the child turning 18, a court may mandate parents to offer support indefinitely.

The Process of Child Support Termination

Child support is not automatically terminated when a child turns 18, graduates from high school, or qualifies for an early exception. A legal process is necessary to halt the income withholding. This process, which may require an attorney, involves the following steps.

Filing a Motion to Terminate Child Support 

You or your attorney must file a Motion to Terminate Withholding for Child Support in the court that issued the initial family court orders. This motion seeks a review and possible alteration of the original child support order.

Serving Notice to the Obligee 

The custodial parent or a private process server must serve court papers to the other party, notifying them of the motion to terminate. The method of notifying the obligee will depend on whether both parties agree on terminating the withholding.

Attending a Court Hearing 

A hearing will be scheduled where the judge will examine the petition. If all is in order, the judge will sign an order terminating child support.

Address Child Support Arrears

If you have unpaid child support, commonly referred to as arrears, it’s likely that the court will require these arrears to be settled before they contemplate signing an order to terminate child support.

Reconciliation and Child Support

Should parents reconcile and cohabit once more, a Texas court may consider reducing child support during that period. This is due to the fact that the parent responsible for child support ends up contributing towards expenses and household bills.

Discuss Your Case With Our Child Support Lawyers 

While there are circumstances under which child support payments can be terminated in Texas, it’s important to remember that these decisions are made with the best interests of the child in mind. It’s best to discuss your specific situation with an experienced family law attorney at Bolton Law. Contact us today at 281-351-7897.