After parents divorce or separate, the court orders that the parents fulfill their legal obligation by making monthly payments known as child support to their minor child. This is for basic needs such as food, housing and clothing. Generally, the states have their own child support guidelines which provide a framework and formula for calculating child support

It is typically based on each parent’s annual gross income. There are several factors that the court considers before issuing the order for the payments. Child support laws can vary based on where you live and the agreement you reach with the court during the marital separation. 

The purpose for child support is to cover the expenses of the care of the child; it is not meant for the receiving parent or custodial parent to use for their own expenses. The custodial parent is the parent who primarily resides with the child and the non-custodial parent does not reside with the child. It is important to consult with a local family attorney to understand the complexities of the procedure for filing for child support. 

In particular, this article will be closely examining stopping child support. Although child support is a legal responsibility of each parent, there may be circumstances in which the child support should otherwise be terminated. There are several lawful reasons to stop child support payments which include, age of maturity for the child, financial reasons or voluntarily choosing not to receive payments.

For example, your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances drastically shift. Generally, if you have a legal reason for the termination of child support payments, you can initiate the process and visit your local family court and obtain the correct forms to fill out the paperwork. Later, the court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child and if the continuation of financial support is required. 

How is a Child Support Award Enforced?

Once the court awards child support, it is legally binding and the parents are mandated by law to complete the child support payments. Therefore, the child support orders are legally enforceable. If for some reason a parent is refusing to pay, you can contact local family support lawyers to enforce and collect the court-ordered child support from the ex-spouse. However, even after these warnings and notice, if they still fail to make those payments they could possibly face serious consequences such as suspension of business license, seizing of property or imprisonment for failing to follow the court order. 

Furthermore, a different state can also enforce child support orders if the ex-spouse decides to move out of state. Specifically, The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) outlines what options parents have if faced with this dilemma for trying to enforce child support payments. 

Can I Modify or Terminate My Child Support Order?

Family courts allow for modification of child support orders. However, the changes cannot happen automatically, the parent must make a formal request by filing a petition to the court to modify the child support order. Oral agreements to make modifications generally tend to lead to more issues. Therefore, written agreements showcase better results in this process especially if the parents already agreed upon a term.

The courts will consider if the reason for the modification of the order is material and relevant to the situation. For example, a significant change in the financial situation or occurring of some events such as becoming disabled. Either parent is allowed to request the court to make a modification while the child is still 18 years or age. 

How Can I Avoid a Child Support Increase?

Showing the court that certain circumstances have changed can increase the child support payments. The parent can request the court to modify the official child support order either to be increased or decreased. The court will consider if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances such as change in the child’s needs, an increase in salary, or the involuntary loss of job. 

After this determination, the court may change the current existing child support order to reflect the changed situation. The order needs to be officially entered by the court, a simple written or verbal agreement among the parents will not legally suffice. 

To avoid getting child support payments unfairly increased, be sure to reach out to a local lawyer to determine what your options are. Furthermore, the court allows for modifications but needs the parent to initiate the process and show the valid reasons for a modification of the child support order. 

Generally, courts look to the child’s best interests standard to determine what the child support payments should be. This includes a review of factors such as the child’s well being, their physical state, mental state, and religious or cultural preferences. 

Do Child Support Payments End Automatically?

No, the child support payments do not end automatically. The parent needs to reach out to the court and request the termination of child support payments. Typically, child support validly ends when the child reaches the age of maturity, passes away, gets married or leaves for undergraduate studies. However, there may be situations in which the child support would continue after the age of 18 if they reside with the parent or are disabled. 

How to Get My Child Support Arrears Dismissed?

Arrears are the amount of unpaid child support owed to the custodial parent. For example it could be a past due medical bill for the child that the parent failed to pay. Parents are allowed to seek help from the law enforcement and other governmental agencies in pursuing child support. 

Each state has particular government agencies or law enforcement departments that are tasked with enforcing child support orders and assist in collecting past due support. These rules and procedures will vary by local state and counties. A local family lawyer can guide you in filing a motion to dismiss child support arrears, as well assist you with other related matters involving child support. 

Some situations arise when a parent may file behind in making the child support payments with no fault of their own, such as loss of employment. Therefore, the court in some cases may waive some or all back child support, but these scenarios involve the cooperation of both parents. Once, there is an agreement the court will make a decision regarding the dismissal of child support arrears. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Terminating Child Support?

In order to terminate child support, you would need to file the correct paperwork with the local county office. A local family lawyer in your area can assist you with the details of the entire legal process and inform you of how to cancel child support. If you are struggling to make child support payments or are struggling to receive them there are legal options available for both circumstances. 

However, they must be officially communicated and requested to the court by filing the necessary paperwork. It is important to seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney to understand what your next steps are as a parent.