What Events Can Stop Child Support Before A Child Turns 18?

For many newly divorced individuals, child support responsibilities can create a significant financial burden. In most cases, child support orders can be expected to remain in place at least until the child reaches the age of 18

However, there are some scenarios that could cause child support orders to terminate early. The following are five of the most common examples: 

Adoption of the child

The biological parent of a child generally is not required to continue making child support payments if the child is legally adopted by another individual.

After the child is adopted, the adoptive parent becomes legally responsible for that child's support. This takes the financial burden of supporting the child off of the biological parent. 

Enlistment of the child in the military

If a child enlists in the military and one of his parents was previously making child support payments for his or her support, child support orders may no longer be necessary.

However, the minimum age for enlisting in the military is 17, so this would generally only end child support payments one year early. 

Marriage of the child

In some cases, marriage of a child can terminate child support orders. Technically, marriageable age is considered to be 18 in the United States. However, some states allow minors to marry after reaching 16 years of age- or at any even younger age- if their parents consent. 

Even if a child under 18 marries, child support payments may still be necessary depending on a variety of factors including whether or not the child continues to live with the other parent. 

Court-ordered custody change of the child

If custody of a child for whom child support payments are being made is taken away from the biological parents and granted to a public children services agency, child support orders may end. 

As in the case of adoption, this change in custody takes financial responsibility for the child away from the parent paying child support and places responsibility on the agency that is granted custody. 

Deportation of the child

If a child does not legally reside in the United States and is deported, the parent paying child support will no longer be responsible for making payments. 

On the other hand, the deportation of a parent does not legally stop child support orders. Although the Child Support Enforcement Agency will not pursue a deported parent to a foreign country, child support will continue to accrue in the deported parent's absence. Click here for more information on divorce law