You’ve been paying child support for months, maybe even years, but there is a circumstance that has you wondering how to stop child support payments in Texas. Perhaps your child has simply turned 18. Or perhaps you’ve got the sneaking suspicion that you aren’t your child’s biological father.
Here are the main reasons for how you can you stop paying child support and the typical means by which child support is terminated.
In Texas, can I stop paying child support when my child turns 18?
Yes. In fact, the number 1 reason Houston parents look into how to legally stop child support payments is because 1 of these 2 deadlines has been met: their child has turned 18 or their child has graduated from high school, whichever comes later.
When this situation occurs, it means your child has reached what the legal world calls “age of majority.” In typical fashion, states don’t agree on what the age of majority is. Some put it at 18, others as high as 21. The states do agree, however, that when a child reaches their state’s age of majority, they’re capable of making their own legal and financial decisions.
But, you may be asking, how do you get out of paying child support? How do I stop child support payments? Or does child support automatically stop in Texas?
Typically, to stop child support payments, a petition to terminate child support withholding must be filed 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. Keep up with your payments so that you never receive a child support warrant. 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.
Are there exceptions to when you can terminate child support in Texas?
Of course! You didn’t think you’d get away with understanding child support laws without first reading a long list of exceptions and qualifications, did you?
Early termination of child support payments in Texas
Your child becomes emancipated: The court can decide that your child has become “emancipated,” meaning financially independent and self-supporting, and 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.
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.
You have a medical crisis: In certain circumstances, when the person paying child support is suffering from a severe illness and/or if they are nearing death, that individual may no longer be obligated to pay child support.
You discover that you’re not the child’s father: 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 will need to file that petition within one year of learning that you are not the child’s biological father.
Extension of child support payments in Texas
The parent wants to provide college support: In some states, parents can opt to continue paying child support to help pay for a child’s education. This exception is not obligatory.
The child has special needs: If you’re thinking “How can I get rid of child support?” when you have a child with disabilities, then think again. A parent who has a child with a disability may be paying child support long past when the child turns their state’s age of majority.
Need a family law attorney? Call Thiessen Law Firm.
Very few people consider why (outside of greed or laziness) someone would want to stop paying child support. 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 in order to make ends meet, you’re going to want a talented 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. Quit wondering how to stop child support payments in Texas. Call Taly Thiessen, one of the best child support lawyers in Houston, at 713-864-9000 and request a case evaluation today.