When Can I Legally Stop Paying Child Support?

Anyone ordered by the family court to pay child support must do so until the court releases them from the order. Usually, this happens when the child reaches adulthood or the court grants a petition to modify the order. Sometimes, according to About.com, child support is collected to repay welfare benefits, in which case the custodial parent might have no control over the process.

Terminating child support payments can sometimes be done with the consent of the custodial parent. Parents who get back together, for example, often agree to forgo direct cash payments, according to About.com. If one parent has been ordered to pay by the court, however, it is important to have the existing order modified or revoked before stopping payments. Even if the other parent agrees to stop receiving support, violating a standing court order is always unwise. If no other parties are involved, modification usually involves submitting some paperwork to the family court or attending a hearing.

Modifying the order can be tricky when another party, such as your state's department of public assistance, is collecting payments. According to About.com, a parent who receives benefits might not be able to stop collection activity until the assistance is terminated and the welfare monies have been repaid.