The Termination of Child Support in Texas
The state of Texas enforces regulations against parents who fail to pay child support. Once a court orders child support, the order remains in effect until the court or certain events terminate the order of support. In accordance with Texas law, there are only a few situations when a parent may stop paying court-ordered child support. This article will explain many of the situations in Texas when it is appropriate to terminate child support.
(This article will focus on child support paid for only one child so if there are multiple children included in your child support order then your duty to provide child support will continue for the remaining children. In the event that you have more than one child, it is likely in your best interest to seek modification of child support order whenever any of the circumstances described in this article occur.)
Mistaken Parental Duties
A man in Texas who pays court ordered child support for a child that the man mistakenly thinks is his child may properly terminate this duty if the man follows certain requirements. A petition first must be filed in family court. Then, a hearing is held. If the judge at the hearing determines that the case meets certain requirements, genetic testing will be scheduled. Provided the genetic testing confirms that the man is not the biological parent of the child in question, the judge might terminate the obligation to pay child support.
In Texas, child support terminates automatically upon emancipation of the child who receives the support payments. Emancipation is a legal mechanism that refers to the moment when a child is released from parental control. In Texas and many other states, a child is considered emancipated when a child turns eighteen years old or graduates high school, whichever occurs later. If a child obtains legal permission to release parental care then the child is also considered emancipated. There are certain others events in Texas that emancipate a child, including marriage. After emancipation, a child is considered independent and no longer in need of child support payments.
Disability, Death, and Adoption
There are certain situations where parents must continue to pay child support even past the child’s eighteenth birthday. If a child is defined as disabled then child support continues for an indefinite period. Disability is defined by a child’s severe mental or physical disabilities. There are other certain situations when the court permits a parent to stop paying child support including the child’s death or adoption.
If a court has ordered you to pay child support, you must continue providing support until the court decides that you are no longer obligated and can stop paying child support. In the absence of a court order or one of the events mentioned in this article, a parent ordered to pay child support must continue support payments. If you believe that you are involved in a situation that involves the potential termination of child support, do not hesitate to contact a skilled divorce lawyer.
Clients who are ordered to pay child support require the talents of a top Houston divorce lawyer. Reach out to the office of Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., where our lawyers have a history of successfully helping clients navigate child support issues.