Can I Pay Support Directly to my Child?
Technically, child support belongs to the child it is intended to support. Realistically, most children are not capable of managing their own finances, so one parent acts as the child’s financial manager and receives the support on his or her behalf. Some parents may want to know if they can bypass the custodial parent and give the money directly to the child.
Why a parent may want to pay directly to the child
In most cases the parent receiving support uses the money to provide for the child’s needs — including food, housing, clothing, education and medical care — as the law specifies. In some instances, however, a paying parent may have reason to suspect the child support is not being used appropriately. Some of these cases include:
- Addiction — if the custodial parent is using drugs, alcohol or is addicted to gambling
- Not providing for child’s needs — the child is going without basic necessities while the parent is using the support money for luxury items
- Supporting other children — there are other children in the home from different parentage who are benefiting from the child support payments
If the paying parent suspects their support is not benefiting the child in the manner it should, that parent can take measures to seek a modification order or permission to redirect the payments.
Options for paying directly or indirectly
When a child reaches an age at which they can take some financial responsibility, it may be possible for the paying parent to set up a system for paying directly to the child or to a third party who can assist an older child in managing their finances. If the recipient parent is willing to participate in mediation to work out a method of managing the child support payments this can be an excellent alternative to returning to court.
If the recipient parent objects to changing the child support payment structure, any changes need to go through the court by way of a petition for modification in child support. A skilled and experienced divorce attorney can assist you with this petition and all of your family law needs.