Terminating Child Support in Texas: When Can I Stop Paying?

Last Updated on September 28, 2023 by Benson Varghese

In Texas, child support ends when a child turns 18 or graduates high school – whichever comes later. However, as with almost anything, there are exceptions to this rule. In this blog post, we are going to discuss these exceptions and answer some frequently asked questions about legally terminating child support in Texas.

How long are your required to pay child support in Texas?

Under Texas Family Code 154.001, parents are required to pay child support until one of the following occurs:

* the child turns 18 or graduates high school whichever comes later; or
* the child is emancipated through marriage, through the removal of disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law; or
* the child dies.
The first and the third elements are self-explanatory, but what does No. 2 mean? We will explain these exceptions further below

What are the exceptions that allow early termination of child support in Texas?

If your child becomes emancipated - meaning he or she can manage their own affairs and is self-supporting - then you can legally terminate child support obligations. A child becomes legally emancipated before age 18 if he or she:
* Gets married;
* Joins the U.S. military; or
* Successfully petitions the court to be free of parental control (a judge issues an order permitting the child to have the same rights as an adult.)

In any of these instances, the court will require proof before terminating child support obligations. You can't just stop paying; you must file a petition to terminate child support.

Can child support be extended in Texas?

Yes, if a child has a physical or mental disability that requires substantial care and supervision - and the disability exited before they turned 18 - a court can order parents to provide indefinite support.

Does child support terminate automatically?

No, child support is not automatically terminated when a child turns 18, graduates from high school, or qualifies for an early exception. The termination needs to be done legally to stop the income withholding. To do this, you or an attorney will need to file a Motion to Terminate Withholding for Child Support in the court that issued the original family court orders. A hearing will be scheduled, where the judge will review the petition and, if everything is in order, will sign an order terminating child support.

Can I terminate child support if I am past due?

If you owe back child support, the court will probably order the arrears to be paid before they will consider signing an order terminating child support. Once again, a hearing will be scheduled, and the judge will review the evidence before making a decision.

What happens to child support if parents get back together?

A Texas court may reduce child support in Texas for the period of time that the parents live together, and the parent who owes child support ends up paying for expenses and household bills.

Need help legally terminating child support?

If you have any questions about terminating child support in Texas, or if you are ready to file petition to terminate child support in Fort Worth or the surrounding counties, please contact Varghese Summersett Family Law Group at 817-900-3220. Our experienced family law attorneys would be more than happy to help you through the process.

Turner Thornton
Turner Thornton
Turner Thornton is a well-known family law attorney in Fort Worth who leads the Varghese Summersett Family Law Group. Turner has successfully guided hundreds of individuals and families through the most trying period of their lives as a skilled negotiator and savvy litigator. Turner Thornton concentrates his practice on family law, including divorce, child custody, contempt, and modification cases. He is experienced in handling estates with significant and unique assets that can be difficult to value. He finds amicable resolutions where possible to conserve his client's resources, but knows how to take the gloves off if the situation calls for it. He has had remarkable results in and outside of the courtroom based largely on his ability and desire to understand his clients' needs and guide them on the pathway to what success looks like for them.

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