How to Stop Child Support Payments

Lawful reasons to stop child support payments

Verywell / Miguel Co 

Children are entitled to receive financial support from both parents until they reach the age of majority. As such, child support payments are often mandated by the courts, even in instances when neither parent has actually filed for child support.

Occasionally, there are scenarios when the parent who initially requested it later wishes to stop receiving child support payments. Before we look at how to stop child support altogether, let's explore some of the circumstances in which a parent may want to stop receiving or even completely refuse incoming child support payments.

Why Stop Child Support Payments?

There are several reasons why parents would change their mind about child support parents.

  • The parents get back together: If the parents reconcile, there would be no reason for one parent to continue to receive child support payments. In that case, the parent who initiated the child support order should return to the family court and explain their desire to stop receiving child support payments.
  • The recipient's financial situation has changed: If you get a new job or come into an inheritance, you could (theoretically) opt to stop child support payments. You would be under no obligation to do this. However, your ex could file for a child support modification. Once the court reviewed your current financial situation, it could choose to reduce or stop child support payments.
  • Circumstances have changed for the parent paying child support: If your ex's financial situation changes, you may want to voluntarily give up child support to ease their financial burden. While unusual, this does happen. All you would need to do is file for a child support modification with the courts. They would then review all of your financial data again and, where appropriate, issue a change.

How to Stop Payments

If you have a lawful reason for stopping child support payments, and you want to initiate the process, you can visit your nearest family court (or the one that issued your current child support order). Speak to the county clerk and request the appropriate paperwork to cease child support payments. Fill out that paperwork and file with the courthouse.

A judge or another court-appointed representative may attempt to convince you not to stop child support payments. In the view of the court, it is in your child's best interest to continue to receive as much financial support as possible. You should be prepared to defend your reasons for wishing to stop child support payments.

Formally putting an end to child support payments is not your only option. You could simply return the payments to your ex while they are experiencing financial difficulty.

Generally speaking, parents receiving government aid do not have the option to voluntarily stop child support payments. 

A Word From Verywell

Non-custodial parents who are no longer responsible for child support payments should maintain adequate records regarding payments made toward the child's upbringing. By keeping receipts, a non-custodial parent can ensure that they won't be in a position to owe back child support payments later. For more information, on custody or child support payments, speak with a qualified attorney in your state.

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  1. Office of Child Support Enforcement. Changing a child support order. Updated August 2017.