Child support withholding can be convenient for the person who must pay support (the “obligor”). You do not have to worry about remembering to send payments in on time. Your employer will handle sending payments to the Texas Attorney General for you. The person who receives the payments (the “obligee”) can also be assured that they will come in on time.
You will not always need child support withholding. Your obligation to pay will end at some point.
Since withholding happens because of a court order, neither you nor your employer can stop sending in payments. You will have to go back to court.
When is someone eligible to have child support withholding stopped?
You are eligible to have child support withholding stopped when one of the following happens:
Your obligation to pay child support has ended; or
You and the obligee have reached an agreement for withholding to stop as part of a modification case.
Your court order will have information about when your obligation ends. It usually ends when your child turns 18 or graduates high school whichever happens later.
Other events can also lead to the end of a child support obligation, such as the following:
The child has gotten married.
You and the obligee have gotten married or remarried.
The child has enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces.
A court has emancipated the child.
The child has died.
The court has modified the child support order, and withholding is no longer necessary.
In a modification case, you can ask the court to include an order that ends child support withholding. Our page on Changing a Custody, Visitation, or Child Support Order has more information.
For any of the other events listed above, you will need to go to court to get an order.
Will the court automatically approve my Petition?
No. The court will not approve your petition if either of the following is true:
You do not meet the legal requirements for stopping withholding; or
You owe child support arrears.
If you are behind on child support (“in arrears”), the court may order you to continue withholding until you have paid what you owe.
What do I need to do to stop child support withholding?
You can follow these steps to stop child support withholding after your obligation to pay has ended.
Step 1: Fill out the forms.
You can use these forms if you want to file the court papers yourself. You will need to give notice to the obligee. How you notify the obligee will depend on whether the two of you agree on ending withholding.
Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support: Fill this out completely in blue or black ink and sign it.
Waiver of Service and Answer to Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support: Give both of these forms to the obligee. Ask them to sign either form and return them to you.
The Waiver of Service is for an uncontested case, where the obligee agrees on ending withholding. The obligee must sign this form in front of a notary public after you file the petition.
The Answer is for a contested case, meaning that the obligee does not agree on stopping withholding.
If the obligee will not sign either of the above forms, you will have to arrange service of process. A sheriff, constable, or private process server can do this. Our article on How to Serve the Initial Court Papers has instructions.
Order to Employer to Terminate Withholding for Support: Fill this out completely in blue or black ink. You should sign it, and you should ask the obligee to sign it, too. If the obligee agrees on stopping withholding, they should have no problem signing it.
Note: Fill this form out completely before you ask the obligee to sign it. If you make any changes to the order after the respondent signs it, they must sign their initials next to each change.
The following interactive resources can help you with the process of filling out these documents:
Step 2: File your petition.
You will file your Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support in the same court that issued the current child support order. File it with the district clerk in that county. Bring several extra copies of the petition. You will need a copy for you and one for the obligee. It might be a good idea to have a few extra copies as well.
The clerk will “file-stamp” the copies with the date and time and return them to you. This proves when you filed the petition.
Step 3: Send a file-stamped copy of the Petition to the other party.
You must send a file-stamped copy of the Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support to the obligee. How you do this depends on whether the two of you agree on ending withholding or not:
If you agree, you can send a copy of the petition to them by certified mail, return receipt requested. This gives you evidence that you sent it.
If you do not agree, you must have them served with the papers. See our article on How to Serve the Initial Court Papers.
Step 4: Schedule a hearing.
This step depends on how the obligee responds to your Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support.
Uncontested: If the obligee signed the Waiver of Service and the Order to Employer to Terminate Withholding for Support, you only need a brief appearance before a judge. Call the clerk’s office to learn when and where the court hears uncontested cases.
Default: You may be able to get a default judgment if you had the obligee served, but they never responded. The clerk can give you more information about setting a hearing. The following must happen first:
The return of service, which shows when the obligee was served, must have been on file with the clerk’s office for 10 days. This does not count the day of service or the day you go to court.
The obligee has 20 days from the date of service to file a response with the clerk. You cannot get a default judgment until at least the 21st day.
Contested: Your case is contested if the obligee filed an Answer to Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support and refuses to sign the Order to Terminate Child Support Withholding. You will need to set a contested hearing. Our article on How to Set a Contested Final Hearing can tell you more about this process.
You should consult with an attorney before going to court. You can also see Tips for the Courtroom to learn more about what to expect.
Step 5: Go to the hearing.
Be ready to explain to the judge why child support withholding should stop. For example, if the child has gotten married, bring a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
You will also need the following:
Proof that you sent the Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support to the obligee, such as a signed Waiver of Service; and
The Order to Employer to Terminate Withholding for Support for the judge to sign.
If the judge agrees that child support withholding should stop, they will sign the order.
Take the signed order to the clerk’s office. Ask the clerk to send a certified copy of the order to your employer so they will stop withholding. Get several file-stamped copies of the order. Send one to the obligee, and keep one for your records.
Does it cost anything to file a Petition to Terminate Withholding for Child Support?
Yes. Fees may include the following:
A filing fee to paid the district clerk;
A fee for service of process paid to the sheriff, constable, or private process server; and
A fee for a certified copy of the court order, also paid to the clerk.
You can learn more about the expenses involved here: Court Fees and Fee Waivers.
If you are concerned that you cannot afford the cost of filing a petition, you can ask the judge to waive the fees. You will need to file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs.
Should I talk with a lawyer to find out if I can ask for my child support withholding to stop?
Yes! You can hire a lawyer just to:
Give you advice and review your forms; or
Represent you at your hearing.
You may also talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic.
If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:
Check our Events and Clinics Calendar for upcoming legal clinics.
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Form 1828A (ROS/App)