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  • Writer's pictureHaley E. Medley

Understanding Child Support Termination: When and How Does It Happen?

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Child support - Ingrum Law


Does child support terminate automatically? There are multiple circumstances that may give rise to a child support obligation being eligible for termination. You may not be aware that a court-ordered child support obligation must be formally terminated to avoid future complications. This is particularly important if your wages are being garnished due to a child support obligation. The most common circumstance that would call for termination of a child support order is the child turning eighteen and graduating high school. With some exceptions, the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines stipulate that child support ends at the later of the child turning eighteen or graduating from high school. It is possible for the obligation to be terminated earlier or later in certain circumstances, for example if the child has been held back or if the child has a disability that warrants a longer term of support.


Another common scenario occurs when parents modify their Permanent Parenting Plan outside of court, not realizing that the support portion remains unchanged unless a court modifies or terminates it. Without the proper documentation, it is possible for a parent who has taken custody of their child to continue to accrue a child support obligation under the order that remains on file with the court. In the event you have surrendered your parental rights, or have had them involuntarily terminated, your child support obligation should be terminated. Although arrearages owed can survive a termination of parental rights, a current support obligation does not.


If you believe your parental rights have been terminated yet still face wage garnishment or tax refund interception, an experienced adoption attorney can help you resolve the subject with relative ease. If you have outstanding child support arrears but are eligible to terminate your current support obligation, being proactive in doing so can allow you to eliminate the arrearage at a much quicker pace. If you think you have completed your child support obligation, contact our office for a consultation.

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