How to Stop Child Support in Texas When a Child Turns 18

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How to Stop Child Support in Texas When a Child Turns 18

By Christine Funk, J.D.

In Texas, a child support obligation ends when the divorce decree says it ends. Sometimes, this is when the child turns 18. More often, this obligation extends past the child's 18th birthday, until they either graduate from high school or are otherwise no longer enrolled in high school.

Mom concernedly placing hand on adult son's shoulder

There are other exceptions, such as:

  • The court may order the parent of a disabled child to pay indefinitely, well beyond the child's 18th birthday. However, if the child's medical disability legally ends, the parent can request to terminate the payments.
  • If a child secures emancipation, the parent may request an order terminating their obligation.
  • If the parents marry or remarry each other, the couple can request the court terminate the order.
  • If the child marries, the parent can make a request to terminate the obligation.
  • Finally, if the child enters active duty in the U.S. armed forces, the parent can make a request to terminate the obligation.

How to Stop Child Support

The first step in stopping child support is to ensure you are in a position to request the termination of your obligation. Even if the divorce decree specifically states that the payments ends when a child turns 18, there are often still steps you must take.

1. Locate the court file number.

Locate the court file number from the divorce or child support paperwork. This file number typically appears on the front page of the divorce petition and the court order.

2. Complete the appropriate paperwork.

In Texas, the Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support requires the following information:

  • Court file number
  • Names of the children
  • Name of the petitioner (the person requesting the change)
  • Some identifying information for the petitioner, such as a partial driver's license number or a partial Social Security number
  • Name of the respondent (the other parent)
  • The method of service on the other party
  • The names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of the children
  • Date of most recent Order for Withholding from Earnings for Child Support currently in effect
  • A request to terminate the order for Withholding from Earnings for Child Support

3. File the petition.

You must file the form in the same county where the divorce or paternity case took place. In addition to filing this form with the court, the papers must be properly served on the other party.

When to File the Request

It's a good idea to file the request 45 days before the last scheduled payment, according to your calculations. The respondent has 15 days to object to the petition. If they don't object and the request has legal support, the court approves the petition. A court appearance may be necessary.

If you pay child support through automatic withholding, you must take another step. Once the court grants the request for termination of support, they also file Termination of Income Withholding for Support with your employer. If the court fails to provide this request, the respondent can make the request, but they must attach a copy of the underlying order along with the request. This form instructs the employer to stop taking the payments out of your paycheck.

However, if you owe back payments, this obligation remains. In this situation, the court does not file a request to terminate employer withholding until you pay off the back what you owe.

If you have paid the other parent child support directly, you can simply cease making payments once you've met the obligation and the court has signed the order. For more information regarding legal needs associated with marriage, divorce, and child support, consider consulting an experienced attorney.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.