Whether your child support order was part of a divorce decree or entered separately, child support doesn’t go on forever. In Texas, certain circumstances terminate your requirement to pay child support even if your child support order doesn’t mention a termination date. Since support payments are typically withheld from your wages, you may need to act to ensure the support payments terminate when they are supposed to.
Termination Due to Age
In Texas, your child support obligations end when your child turns 18 if he is no longer enrolled in high school. If he is still in high school, child support obligations end when he graduates or if he drops out before he graduates. After the child turns 18, he must meet his school’s minimum attendance requirements in order for child support to continue.
Other Termination Circumstances
Child support obligations also end when your child’s legal disabilities of minority end before he turns 18. For example, child support ends if your child marries, even if he later divorces, but if the marriage is annulled, child support obligations resume. If your child is emancipated or joins the military, child support also ends. However, if your child is disabled, your support obligations may continue indefinitely.
Petition for One Child
If you are paying child support for one child and your child support obligations have ended, you must file a Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support to stop the payments from being withheld from your paycheck. This petition must include certain information, such as your original support order number and the reason for termination. The petition must be filed with the court that has jurisdiction over the case – usually the court that issued the most recent child support order – and a copy must be sent to the recipient of the child support.
Petition for Multiple Children
If you are paying support for more than one child, your support obligations will not end when the eldest child turns 18. Instead, your support order must be modified to reflect your obligation for the remaining minor children only. If you wish to modify your support order, you must file a Petition for Modification with the court that has jurisdiction over your case. This petition includes information about your case as well as the reason you are requesting modification. If the other parent agrees to the modification, this can be noted in your petition and the other parent also signs the petition. Often, you will have to appear for a court hearing for the judge to approve your petition and issue the new support order, with the percentage of child support adjusted to reflect the modification.