In most states, you are supposed to pay child support until the child turns 18, but if the child is still in high school, the payments can continue for a little longer.

If you are asking, do child support payments automatically stop? Family lawyers advise you stop paying the support when the child attains 18, but you can agree with your partner to support your child while in college.

For example, you can agree that, as a non-custodial parent, you pay a portion of the child’s college fee. In most states, this agreement is voluntary, and you can’t be forced to contribute to your child’s education.

If you are a non-custodial parent and get into such an agreement, ensure you put the agreement in writing so it can be enforced legally.

Can you stop paying child support before the child reaches 18 years?

Yes, you can under these conditions:

You get back with your partner

If you reconcile with your partner and live under the same roof, there is no reason one parent should continue receiving child support payments. In such a case, the parent that went to court to initiate the child support order should go back to the family court and explain their desire to stop receiving the payments.

The receiving parent has a windfall.

If the receiving parent secures a better-paying job or they come into an inheritance, you can stop making the child support payments, as the receiving parent has no use for the money.

You shouldn’t simply stop making the payments. Instead, work with your attorney and file for a child support modification. The court will review the recipient’s current financial situation and if they ascertain that the recipient is in a better financial position, stop the payments.

The financial circumstances have changed for you (parent paying child support)

If you lose a job or develop a disability, you can head to a family court and ask the court to modify your payments. Like the case above, the court will review your claims and if they hold water, issue a change.

What is the right procedure to stop making child support payments?

Even if you have a lawful reason to stop the child support payments, you shouldn’t just stop making them as doing so comes with plenty of repercussions such as:

  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Seizing of your tax return
  • Your pay garnished
  • Lower your credit score
  • Incarceration if found guilty of “contempt of court.” Remember that child support is a court order, and if you fail to make the payments, the judge can order that you are jailed for the willful nonpayment.
  • The court can also impose a heavy fine on you. If you stop making the payments, the state can decide to file felony charges, and you stand to be fined more than $10,000.

To avoid the repercussions that came with failing to pay for child support, follow the right process. The right thing to do is for you or the divorce lawyers Fairfax VA representing you to visit the courthouse and file for a child support modification.

When you are in court, ask for relief and attach evidence showing that you cannot afford your monthly obligation. Some of the evidence that you can attach are termination papers proving that you lost your job, paycheck stubs showing the salary cut, proof of increased expenses due to increased bills, medical receipts showing your worsened medical condition, or any other thing that will show the court that you are in trouble and you can’t continue making the payments as before.