Every parent has a legal and moral obligation to support their biological or adopted children. Courts typically require the non-custodial parent to pay monthly child support installments to the custodial parent. Child support, however necessary it may be, has to be terminated at some point in time.
This article sheds light on the duration of the child support period, some common reasons to end child support and the necessary documents required during the termination of child support payment.
How long should child support last?
How long child support lasts varies slightly from state to state but is typical until the child reaches the “age of majority” i.e. the legal age as per state law at which an individual is no longer a minor and, as a young adult, has the right and responsibility to make certain legal choices that adults make. Child support can also be terminated once the individual finishes the twelfth grade of high school.
Common reasons to end child support
However, a child may continue to be eligible for child support beyond this threshold if they are:
- 18 and still unmarried
- Still a full-time student
- Not self-supporting or
- Either physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled to such a degree that they cannot realistically support themselves.
If your child has graduated from high school and is not eligible to continue to receive child support for any of the reasons listed above, you can notify the state to terminate your child support obligation. But, be sure to check your child support order to make sure that no other provisions were made by the court.
Other reasons for terminating child support
There are a variety of other reasons why a paying parent might request termination of child support. For example, because their child has:
- Become emancipated
- Gotten married
- Become self-supporting, rending child support unnecessary
In these cases, the parent will usually be required to file what is called an affidavit for termination of child support or child support dismissal affidavit. This form is filed with the family court and allows a parent to express the reason why his or her child support obligation should be terminated.
After the affidavit has been filed, the parent receiving child support can either agree to the termination or dispute it. If the affidavit is disputed, a hearing will usually be held for the court to review evidence from both sides and make a determination as to whether or not child support should be terminated.
Child support termination: Documents required
After you check your child support order, gather one or more of the following documents and contact your local child support enforcement agency
- A copy of your child’s high school diploma
- The graduation program or
- A verification letter from the high school your child graduated from
Make sure that there is a graduation date on the document and that it states that your child has graduated. Either parent can supply this information to start the termination process.
Once your local child support enforcement agency receives the graduation information, and all child support is paid in full with no back child support owed, the agency will send a termination order to your employer to end any wage garnishment or income withholding you may have been subject to. If money is still owed, the order will remain in place until all back child support is paid in full.
For more information on how you can stop paying child support in your state or to obtain an affidavit form, visit a local family law court, or consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area.