Atlanta, GA Child Support Termination Lawyer

Every parent has the legal obligation to provide financial support for their child. When the children and parents all live together, parents support their children by providing a home and seeing to their daily needs. When parents do not live together, one parent usually pays child support to the other.

The obligation to pay child support does not last forever. If you want to terminate your child support payments, or you are the recipient of support and your co-parent wants to terminate their obligation, speak with a legal professional from our firm. An Atlanta, GA child support termination lawyer can explain the law and determine whether there are legal grounds to end support payments.

Typical Child Support Obligations

According to the Official Code of Georgia §19-6-15 (e), the paying parent must provide child support until the child reaches age 18. A family court judge could order support until the child graduates from high school if their graduation occurs after their 18th birthday. However, the child support obligation cannot extend beyond age 20, even if the child has not yet received their high school diploma.

Other events could terminate the child support obligation. If a child becomes legally emancipated or gets married, parents need not provide financial support. If you are the paying parent and the court orders a new custody arrangement making you the primary custodian, you can cease paying child support to your co-parent.

Other situations could merit ending child support in some circumstances. A family law attorney from our firm in Atlanta, GA can review your situation and offer advice about whether pursuing child support termination is worthwhile in a specific case. Note, however, that the receiving parent’s remarriage is not a legitimate reason to terminate child support, unless the receiving parent’s new spouse adopts the child.

Courts Must Approve and Order Changes to Child Support

Sometimes the court order directing child support contains a provision describing when and how it terminates. Separating parents often make their own child support arrangements, subject to court approval. For example, parents might agree to continue child support while the child is pursuing post-secondary education.

When one or both parents want to change the child support arrangement, they must first get family court approval. A request for termination is a request for modification. The current child support arrangement remains in effect until the judge approves the modification.

A member of our Atlanta family law team can prepare the petition to modify the support order by terminating the paying parent’s obligation. The judge will review the proposed modification and determine whether termination is justified. When there is no legal ground for the termination the judge will modify the agreement only if they find doing so serves the child’s best interests.

Child Support Is the Child’s Right and an Independent Obligation

Parents must be mindful that the right to financial support belongs to the child, not the co-parent. Sometimes, a paying parent wants to terminate child support because they are angry at or distrustful of their co-parent. You might believe your co-parent is spending the money on themselves or preventing you from spending time with your children.

Judges frown on parents using financial pressure to punish or manipulate their co-parents. According to family law principles, when you fail to uphold your financial obligations, you are acting against your children’s best interests.

The best strategy in these difficult situations is to consult an Atlanta, Georgia child support termination attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine the best course. They might negotiate a resolution with your co-parent’s attorney or advise you to seek modification or enforcement of your agreements in court. Intentionally failing to pay child support as ordered only weakens your position and causes your children to suffer.

Consult an Atlanta, GA Attorney About Ending Child Support Payments

The orders the judge issued when you and your co-parent separated might describe when a child support obligation terminates. If so, you can stop when the event described in the order happens.

Otherwise, you may need to file a court petition to terminate the child support obligation. Discuss your situation with an Atlanta, GA child support termination lawyer to learn the best way to proceed.

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