You’ve been paying child support for months, maybe even years, but now you’re wondering how to stop child support payments in Texas. Perhaps your child has turned 18 — or maybe you’ve got the sneaking suspicion that you aren’t your child’s biological father. Either way, chances are that you have questions.
Can I cancel child support in Texas?
Can you stop child support if both parents agree in Texas?
How does joint custody in Texas impact child support payments?
At Thiessen Law Firm, our fathers’ rights attorneys know how stressful child support payments can be on your wallet, and how stressful it can be to try and stop unnecessary payments. That’s why we’ve created this resource including the main reasons why people stop paying child support and tips on how to stop child support payments when it’s time to do so.
How long do you have to pay child support in Texas?
When your child turns 18, can you terminate child support in Texas? The Texas child support laws are dictated by Texas Family Code Chapter 154, which states that parents are required to pay child support until the later of when:
- The child turns 18; or
- The child graduates from high school.
If you’re wondering how to stop child support in Texas when a child turns 18, it will happen automatically if through the OAG, but otherwise you will need to file a motion to terminate child support in Texas with your attorney.
How to stop child support payments
If you want to terminate your child support you’ll need to file a motion to terminate child support if the children age out — or a child support modification in Texas under other circumstances — in the same court that established your original child support payments. Once a judge signs the petition, it can be forwarded to the Texas Attorney General’s office where both a stop payment can be issued and a withholding termination letter can be sent to your employer.
If you’re nowhere near the deadline to stop child support payments, stay the course. The obligation to pay child support is often an honorable one and is in the best interest of the child. Keep up with your payments so that you never receive a child support warrant.
Take a deeper dive: Learn about the best way to form a child support holiday schedule, resist hiding income to avoid child support, and inform yourself about child support when grandparents have custody.
How do I cancel my child support payments in Texas if my child isn’t 18?
Filing a modification to your child support or a motion to terminate child support in Texas for a child under 18 years old will only be accepted under a handful of circumstances. We detail a few reasons for termination and modification of child support payments below.
Reasons for early termination or modification of child support payments in Texas
- Reason for termination: your child becomes emancipated. The court can decide that your child has become “emancipated,” meaning financially independent and self-supporting, and is thus no longer in need of child support before they reach the age of majority. Common examples of emancipation include the child getting married, joining the military, or leaving home.
- Reason for termination: your child dies. When a child passes away, you are no longer obligated to pay child support for that child. If there are other children in the family, you will need to petition for a Texas child support modification.
- Reason for modification: you have a medical crisis. In certain circumstances, when the person paying child support is suffering from a severe illness and/or nearing death, that individual may no longer be required to pay child support and can be relieved of their child support obligations.
- Reason for termination or modification: you discover that you’re not the child’s biological father. This one is incredibly tricky, and depends on the age of the child, when the information comes to light, and if you are adjudicated. If genetic testing proves that you are not a child’s biological father, you can petition to terminate your parent-child relationship and stop paying child support. You must file that petition within one year of learning that you are not the child’s biological father.
How much back child support is a felony in Texas?
How much child support can you owe before going to jail in Texas? Under Texas Penal Code 25.05, the title and chapter containing offenses against the family, a person is guilty of “criminal nonsupport” if they “intentionally or knowingly fail to provide support for their child younger than 18 years of age.”
The other parent of your child can decide to take you to court for criminal nonsupport whenever they believe that you are intentionally not paying them. If you are convicted of criminal nonsupport you can expect to be charged with a State Jail Felony with an attached fine of up to $10,000 and six months to two years in a state jail. Additionally, the Texas Attorney General’s site actually publishes the names and photos of parents who owe more than $5,000 in back child support.
If you believe that you don’t deserve to pay child support in Texas anymore, don’t just stop making payments. Instead, search for experienced and aggressive child support lawyers for fathers to fight for you and make sure that you’re getting a fair shake.
Although you can face criminal charges for criminal nonsupport, you will generally not be charged with a crime for not making child support payments, but instead issued a capias by the family court for violation of the family law order. In this case you may be ordered to serve time as punishment, but it is not a criminal charge.
Problems with your child support payments in Texas? Call Taly Thiessen at Thiessen Law Firm.
Very few people consider why someone would want to know how to stop child support payments in Texas. Regardless of whether you lack proof that you are a child’s parent or simply need to decrease the amount of child support you currently pay to make ends meet, you will want a winning family law attorney by your side.
At Thiessen Law Firm, we understand that every family’s and individual’s situation is unique and we will fight for your right to reduce or terminate child support in Texas. From questions on how to report a new job to child support in Texas to what to do when you receive a child support order, we are here to see you through it all.
If you need the best family attorney Houston has to offer, you need to call Taly Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm. Taly is an award-winning, battle-tested, and compassionate family lawyer in Houston. You can call Taly at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online today for a case evaluation.
More Helpful Articles by Thiessen Law Firm:
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- 3 Child Custody Laws in Texas for Unmarried Parents
- Cheap Divorce Lawyers in Texas: Why You Should Avoid Them