Child support is a critical component of any Morris County divorce settlement involving children. Child support is designed by law to protect the child’s best interests, but is usually paid directly to the custodial parent.
Many of our Morris County child support clients ask us if it is possible to pay child support directly to the child, rather than the custodial parent. This request is usually made for a variety of reasons, including:
- Child support is not being used for its intended purpose by the custodial parent
- The relationship between the spouses is strained and difficult to manage
- The child is not living at home (i.e. trade school or college)
Can Morris County Child Support be Paid Directly to the Child?
Until recently, the answer to this question was no, child support cannot be paid directly to the child. However, a recent ruling in the case of Kayahan v Kayahan now provides a precedent in certain circumstances for non-custodial parents to pay child support directly to an un-emancipated child over the age of 18. It is important to understand that the age of child emancipation refers to when a child is no longer dependent on their parents financially, and is un-related to them legally becoming an adult at the age of 18.
If you are a non-custodial parent of an un-emacipated child over the age of 18, it is possible that with the help of an experienced Chatham child support attorney, you can petition the courts to allow you to pay child support directly to your child, rather than the custodial parent. When making such a petition, a child support court will consider several different factors when making their ultimate ruling.
How Old is the Supported Child?
The first thing a child support court hearing will consider is the age and maturity of the supported child. Not only does the child have to be over the age of 18, the court will need to find them capable of effectively managing money and be able to handle the responsibility of using their child support as it is intended to be used. If the court finds this to be the case, they will require the supported child to show receipts of child support expenditures to both parents.
Have Child Support Payments Historically been Regular and Timely?
Another factor a court will consider when deciding whether or not to allow the supporting parent to pay child custody directly to the child is the history of child support payments made to-date. If child support payments have not been historically made in-full, or in a timely manner, the petition may be denied. Children are much less likely to hold a parent accountable for irregular child support payments than adult parents, and courts will consider a history of irregular or late child support payments to be too risky to allow them to be made directly to the supported child.
Can the Custodial Parent Still Maintain their Home?
While child custody is designed to protect the best interests of the child, part of that protection comes from the ability of the custodial parent to maintain a home for that child. In order for child support payments to be made directly to the child, the deciding court will have to believe that the home of that child can still be properly maintained by the custodial parent even if they are not using part of the child support payment to do so.
Contact a Morris County Child Support Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience resolving child support issues of all kinds for clients across Chatham, Chester, Mendham, Mt. Olive, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area.
If you are interested in making child support payments directly to your un-emancipated child, it may be possible to do so with the help of our experienced Morris County child support attorneys. We are prepared to help you through the entire petition process, and present a clear and compelling case to a child support court in order to allow you to do so.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced child support attorneys today regarding your specific child support concerns and needs, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at 973-828-0829.