Although their are several reasons why child support payments may terminate, they do not do so automatically. Therefore, an individual will need to contact a state child support agency representative to start the process of ending support. Support generally ends when a child turns 18. However, it may be necessary to provide additional support past that age for children who are in college or who have special needs.
It may be possible to have child support payments terminate before a child turns 18 or otherwise reaches the age of majority. For instance, if a child joins the military, gets married or is economically independent, it may be possible to ask to stop paying child support. At any time, it may be possible to modify child support payments due to a change in income or other circumstances that would justify changing a child support order.
If a parent does not ask for child support to be terminated, that parent is obligated to continue providing support. Therefore, it may be worthwhile for anyone with an older child to consult with an attorney to determine when child support obligations may come to an end. In most cases, a judge is not able to retroactively terminate support payments that have already come due.
Child support payments are designed to help protect the best interests of the child. However, when the child is old enough to support him or herself, those payments may no longer be necessary. Therefore, anyone who is obligated to pay child support may wish to consult with an attorney to ensure that support ends in accordance with state laws. Otherwise, a parent may have to pay more than he or she needs to in an effort to provide for his or her child.