Can You Stop Child Support If Both Parents Agree?

Court intervention and orders in divorce and child custody cases can feel very intrusive when both parents still get along.

After all, the parents should best know their children’s financial needs better than a judge who does not know them, right?

If a court order is in place for child support, both parents should continue to follow that order. It is possible to petition the court to end the support order though. Stopping child support without making it official with the court could end in punishment for the parent who is supposed to pay.

Read on to learn about methods and scenarios for officially ending child support. We will also discuss the possible consequences of taking matters into your own hands. 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state if you have questions or believe you have a legal situation.

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree?

If one parent is paying child support to another parent, there are two different scenarios to consider.

The first is the easiest – when one parent is voluntarily paying child support and there is no court order. 

Can You Stop Paying Voluntary Child Support If Both Parents Agree?

When there is no court order in place, one parent can stop paying support if both parents agree.

This is because there is not a court order in place. Court orders must be followed, and failure to do so will have serious penalties. 

When stopping voluntary child support, the other party may not agree. If the receiving parent does not agree to end it, he or she can head to court to get a support order.

Can You Stop Paying Court-Ordered Child Support If Both Parents Agree?

When child support payments are in place because of a court order, it is a little more complicated.

It may be possible to stop paying child support, but first, the court must approve it. 

Many parents assume that as long as they both agree, then that is all that matters. While it is certainly important, the court does have the final say in things. 

Ultimately, a child support order is a court order, and court orders must be followed. Failure to follow child support orders can lead to unfortunate outcomes. Some possible consequences include:

  • Suspension of the payor’s driver’s license
  • Interception of the paying parent’s tax refunds
  • Jail time

Usually, the court only knows that a parent is not paying as ordered if the other parent complains.

This can be perilous in situations where both parents informally agreed to stop child support but did not follow up with the court.

The receiving parent may change his or her mind in a few months or years and dispute that there was an agreement to end child support.

If this happens, the paying parent could be on the hook for months or years of back child support.

The receiving parent could even pursue those penalties mentioned above and more. 

Some good news is that modifying the child support order should be a straightforward process if both parents really are on the same page.

The judge may be happy to rubber stamp the proposal but will likely need some information to do so. 

Child Support Agreement

How to Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree?

If both parents agree to stop paying child support, the first step will be to ask the court to review your case. This is most often done by filing a stipulation to modify child support.

A stipulation to modify child support tells the court that both parents agree because both parents sign the document.

In the stipulation, be sure to explain the reason for the elimination of child support. 

From there, the judge can approve the stipulation. That approval terminates the child support order, and child support is officially stopped. 

More often, the judge needs more information to stop child support. This is because the judge will need more details to make the required findings in the order he or she will issue. 

In all states, the court uses the ‘best interests of the child’ standard when entering orders regarding a child.

The judge may need more details to be able to make the finding that stopping child support is in your children’s best interests. 

The judge may require that both parents submit financial affidavits and a child support worksheet.

The worksheet is the calculation of what child support should be under the laws of your state based on each parent’s finances. 

The worksheet may indicate zero or very little child support should be paid. If that happens, you have a great chance of stopping child support.

Additionally, the judge may need to see you both in court for a brief hearing. In that hearing, both parents will each have the opportunity to explain why stopping child support is a good idea. 

Then, the judge will decide whether to approve the request to stop child support based on your children’s best interests.

The judge holds the final authority to deviate from the child support worksheet based on the information presented.

Can A Father Take Himself Off Child Support?

A father can try to take himself off child support by filing a request to modify or terminate child support with the court.

Both parents will have to submit financial information for the court to decide. 

Child support is calculated based on a formula set in each state’s law. Ultimately, this is what the court will use to determine whether to take a father off of child support. 

Some fathers have the impression that by giving up the pursuit of parenting time, they can get out of child support. This is not true for either parent.

Regardless of whether a parent sees or interacts with their child, they retain the responsibility to financially support the child.

Usually, the best-case scenario in situations like this is that the father may be able to pay less if he has little income. 

Can I Drop Child Support On My Ex?

Whether you can drop child support on your ex varies based on how far along you are in the process. 

Can I Drop Child Support On My Ex If There Is A Court Order?

If there is a child support order in place, you can ask the court to drop it by modifying it to $0. To do this, the receiving parent files a motion to modify child support. 

As always, the court will consider the child support formula’s application to the family’s specific situation.

The judge can also hear from each parent regarding the reason for and support of this request. 

If both parents want to drop the child support, the two can jointly file a stipulation to modify child support. 

Can I Drop Child Support If There’s A Case But No Order?

Sometimes child support cases drag on, and you may change your mind before it is finished.

Depending on the type of case, you may be able to just dismiss the case without having an order entered. 

Oftentimes, child support cases are actually divorce or custody cases without any government agency involvement.

These types of cases can be dismissed with the consent of both parties. 

When a case is dismissed before final orders, it is as if the case never existed from the court’s perspective.

This is the easiest way to drop child support, but this is not available to everyone.

If your state’s child support agency is involved in the case, it will not be your sole choice to drop it.

These state agencies pursue the public policy of ensuring both parents financially support a child.

If you, the custodial parent, applies for any public assistance programs like TANF, SNAP, or Medicaid, child support enforcement will automatically pursue child support.

This is because the other parent should be supporting the child before the state has to do it.

Does Child Support Stop If Parents Live Together? 

Because child support is a court order, it does not automatically stop when the parents reunite.

If both parents agree, they can start the child support modification process with the court that issued the order. 

If the parents are living together, the court is likely to assume both parents are caring for the child’s needs.

If parents are not both financially supporting the child, the court may still order child support. 

The court’s primary concern is always that the child is adequately supported. Even if both parents live together, the order may not be terminated or modified if one parent is not providing for the child.

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree In Texas?

Texas courts do permit parties to stop child support if a very important requirement is met.

The parents must prove that the “circumstances of the child…or other person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed.”

This means that if nothing has really changed since the court order, the judge may not stop the order.

Alternatively, the court can modify orders if it has been at least three years since the last modification. 

Texas judges can also modify child support orders if the new order would be at least 10 percent or $100 different than the old order. 

Remember, if you have a child support order, you should never stop paying until the court terminates the order.

Stop Paying Child Support

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree In Ohio?

Ohio requires that there be at least 36 months between attempts to modify a child support order.

There are exceptions to this if a parent encounters a severe emergency like a layoff.

Ohio does determine child support based on a formula that includes both parents’ incomes.

To deviate from the results of this formula, both parents will need to demonstrate that the waiver of support is beneficial to the child.

Most commonly, the court agrees to a waiver when child support is a negligible amount or when both parents earn a lot of money.

If it is clear the child is adequately cared for in both homes, the court may let you stop paying child support. 

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree In Florida?

Florida does not allow parents to waive child support. This is because child support is considered the property of the child.

As such, parents do not have the right to give it up.

However, Florida courts do sometimes let parents deviate from the child support guidelines.

This means that parents may be able to get a small child support order rather than the larger suggested amount.

If the deviation is more than 5 percent of the amount recommended by the guidelines, the court will have to issue written findings.

Only agreements that provide for the proper care and support of the child will be approved. 

Remember, failing to follow the court-ordered child support order can be very perilous.

If the other parent changes their mind in the future, the paying parent can be subject to many penalties.

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree In Illinois?

Illinois is another state that requires court approval before a parent stops paying child support. The court will carefully review a request to stop paying child support.

If the court finds the proposed agreement to be sufficient for the child’s support, then the judge may grant the request.

This could happen in situations where parents equally split parenting time and have very similar incomes. 

Ultimately, whether or not you can stop paying child support in Illinois if both parents agree depends upon the judge.

The judge must find that the proposal is what’s best for the child.

Can You Stop Paying Child Support If Both Parents Agree In California?

In California, you may be able to lower or eliminate a child support award if both parents agree. However, you must get court approval before doing this. 

California makes the forms to stipulate to a lesser child support order available online. The court’s family law facilitator in your county can also help you with this process.  

Final Words

Regardless of which state you live in, make sure you get court approval before stopping child support payments.

Child support is usually based on a court order, and the consequences for not following that order can be severe.

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