Can Child Support be Paid Directly to the Child if Turning 18?

Although child support questions may seem cut and dry, they typically are much more complicated then they appear. For example, a common question is can child support be paid directly to the child if turning 18. Well, this answer is based on the specific terms of the court order, but typically the parent paying child support can stop paying child support when the child turns 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever occurs later.

Once the child graduates from high school the child support obligations will end; however, if the child enrolls in “an institution of vocational or higher education” the child support will continue. This is contingent on a few different factors: the child must be enrolled in school and complete at least 12 hours of coursework per term and they must have passing grades in at least half of their classes. If a child is working more than 15 hours a week then they are obligated to only complete nine hours of coursework each semester.

When the child turns 21 or when they complete their education, whichever comes first, then child support payments can cease. During all of this, the non-custodial parent should be paying the child support to the custodial parent. Do not take it upon yourself to start paying the child support directly to your child. This may be a possibility, but only if the parent or child asks the court’s permission and if the court orders it. If no one asks the court or if the court denies the request, then the child support payments should continue being paid to the custodial parent.

When your child turns 18 or graduates high school you may be able to have your child support modified. The best way to go about this is to treat it as any other request to modify child support. The court will consider both parents’ current incomes and the needs of any other children who are still considered minors when making their decision.

So, although the child turns 18, the child support must still be paid to the custodial parent. This may only be changed if the parent or child asks the court’s permission and if the court grants it.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.