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What Is a Motion to Terminate?

By Lori Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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A motion can be filed anytime someone wants to ask the court to take an action. A motion to terminate is the legal way to ask for the discontinuation of an existing order. It is often requested after the terms of the original order have been met — frequently after a deadline or milestone has been reached. It may be filed to suspend child support, guardianship, or parental rights. The end to a probation sentence can also be obtained if a judge grants a motion to terminate the order.

In family law, a parent can file a motion to terminate child support when the child reaches the age of majority, or other conditions are met, such as the successful completion of high school. When the motion is filed and other parties are involved, like in cases of child support, a copy of the motion generally must be provided to the other party. He or she is given the opportunity to appear in court to state any objections. If the other party is not notified of the hearing and the motion is granted, that party may file a motion to vacate, which could negate a judgment to terminate.

Other instances may require filings of this type, such as when one or both parents wish to relinquish their roles as legal guardians. This often occurs to allow an adoption. Sometimes, this type of motion is filed by someone other than the parent or legal guardian. In cases of abandonment, neglect, or when a parent presents extreme danger to the child, the motion may be filed on behalf of the minor.

Outside family law, there are instances where someone may request relief of an existing order. When an individual approaches the end of a probation sentence, a motion to terminate probation is often filed. Sometimes it is submitted to request an early end to the sentence. This can often be granted when the individual has complied with the terms of the judgment, and has not had any violations.

Motions to the court are frequently filed by an attorney, but an individual can file a motion without counsel, or pro se.. When filing a motion to terminate, it is important to include all supporting documents along with the actual request to the court. Failure to properly adhere to legal procedures can result in the denial of a pleading that might have otherwise been granted.

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