What You Need to Know to File a Petition to Terminate Child Support
When parents split up, child support is typically ordered by the court to provide financial assistance to the child. However, there may come a point when you wish to legally end the obligation to pay child support in Minnesota.
There are a few ways child support can be terminated, but you must meet specific qualifications and follow the proper legal processes. This article will overview when you can petition the court to terminate child support and how to file the request.
When Can You File to End Child Support Payments?
In Minnesota, a child support order generally remains effective until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever occurs last. However, there are a few scenarios where you may be able to terminate child support earlier by petitioning the court:
Child Support Forms to Request Termination
If you believe your situation qualifies, you must complete and file certain child support forms to make a formal request to the court to end the existing child support order.
Common forms used to terminate child support include:
- Motion to Terminate Child Support
- Affidavit and Motion to Modify Child Support
- Stipulation to Terminate Child Support
The specific forms you will use depend on your unique circumstances. For example, if both parents agree to end support, you may file a stipulation form. But if one parent contests, you may need to file a motion.
Child Reaches Age of Majority
In Minnesota, child support typically terminates when the child turns 18 years old unless certain conditions exist. For example, if the child is still enrolled in high school, support may continue until graduation. Once the child reaches the age of majority under state law, either parent can petition to terminate child support.
However, the court may order an extension of child support past age 18 if the child has special needs or a disability that affects their ability to be self-supporting. This requires filing a motion and providing evidence of the need.
Child Marries, Joins the Military, or Becomes Emancipated
Other life events like marriage, entering the military, or becoming legally emancipated can allow you to terminate child support early in Minnesota. The parent must provide proof of the changed circumstance to the court through the petition.
For example, if your teenager gets married, you may provide a copy of the marriage certificate. Or if they enlist in the armed forces, submit documentation demonstrating their active military status.
Modification of Current Child Support Order
In Minnesota, child support orders can be modified under certain conditions that show a substantial change in circumstances since the current order was established.
For example, if the parent receiving child support starts earning significantly more income, the amount they receive each month may be reduced or terminated. Or if the paying parent loses their job, support may be temporarily stopped until they find new employment.
To request a modification, you must file the proper forms and provide evidence for the change in financial status or circumstances. A child support magistrate will review the request and issue a ruling.
Paternity Has Been Disestablished
In rare cases, paternity that was previously established may be disestablished if genetic testing later proves the individual is not the biological father. If the court enters an order disestablishing paternity, the former father would no longer owe child support payments from that point on.
How to File a Petition to Terminate Support
If you meet the qualifications to terminate child support in Minnesota, follow these steps to start the legal process:
1. Obtain the Relevant Forms
First, you need the proper forms to file your request to terminate support. The main options are a Motion to Terminate Child Support or a Stipulation to Terminate Child Support. You can get blank forms through your county court’s Self Help Center website or office. Alternatively, contact an experienced MN family law attorney for assistance.
2. Complete the Forms
Carefully complete each form, providing all required details about your situation. The reasons you list for termination must meet the legal thresholds in MN. Leave the signature and notary sections blank until you are before a notary.
3. Make Copies
Once done, make several copies of the completed forms to provide to the court and other party. You will file the originals but need copies for proper notice and service.
4. File with Court
File the original petition forms with the family court in the county handling your child support case. You will need to pay the required court fees. Ask for date-stamped copies showing proof of filing.
5. Serve the Other Party
Per state rules, you must formally notify the other parent that you petitioned to terminate support. This involves arranging the service of the process. An independent process server or sheriff can handle serving copies of the filed petition.
6. Attend Hearings
The court will schedule one or more hearings to address your petition if the other parent contests it. You must attend all hearings and provide evidence supporting your request. The court will issue a final order granting or denying termination.
Getting Help With a Child Support Termination
Trying to terminate child support on your own can be challenging. An experienced MN family law attorney can guide you through the process, file the petition, and represent you at hearings to get a favorable outcome.
At Martine Law, our team helps Minnesota parents resolve child support disputes. We assist with filing petitions for termination when you meet the legal qualifications. Contact our MN child support attorneys online or call to schedule a case evaluation.