In any Union County divorce involving a family with children, child support is a key component of the divorce settlement agreement. New Jersey law has strict guidelines outlining how much child support will be required in any divorce case, based on the income of both parents, and the needs of the child.
Many of our Union County clients inquire about paying child support directly to their child, rather than the custodial parent. Parents make this request generally for a number of reasons, including:
- They believe the child support they pay is not being used for its intended purpose
- The relationship between the supporting parent and the custodial parent is strained or difficult
- The child is not living in the home of the custodial parent (is studying at college or abroad)
While these are all valid reasons to wish to pay support directly to the child, such an arrangement can only be made under certain circumstances.
Can I Pay Child Support Directly to my Child?
Until recently, the answer to this question was a definitive no, regardless of the circumstances. However, a recent ruling in the case of Kayahan v Kayahan now sets a precedent in which non-custodial parents may pay child support directly to their children if that child is un-emancipated and over the age of 18. Emancipation is the legal term used to define when a child is no longer financially dependent on the parents, the age of the child has no impact on this determination.
If you are a non-custodial parent of an un-emancipated child over the age of 18, with the help of an experienced Union County child support attorney, you can petition the court to allow you to pay child support directly to your child. In this child support modification petition, a child support court will weigh a number of different factors when making their ultimate ruling.
The Age and Maturity of the Supported Child
As previously noted, in order for such a petition to be granted, the child in question must be over the age of 18. In addition, the court must believe that the child is mature and responsible enough to use this support money for its intended purpose. The court will review the child’s lifestyle and history of financial responsibility. Should they grant your request to pay child support directly to the child, they will also require that the child show receipts of their expenditures to both parents, in order to monitor their use of the child support.
Your History of Child Support Payments
The deciding court will also review the supporting party’s own history of making regular and full payments. If there is doubt regarding the ability of the supporting parent to make timely and complete child support payments, the request will most likely be denied, as children are much less likely to taken legal action against a parent for failure to make regular support payments than an ex-spouse.
The Ability of the Custodial Parent to Maintain their Home
One final factor the Union County child support modification court will consider is the ability of the custodial parent to maintain their home. While the child may be away studying at school, it is still important that they have a stable home to return to. To this end, the court will want to review the custodial parent’s financial situation, expenses, and income.
Contact a Union County Child Support Modification Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we have extensive experience helping clients across Westfield, Elizabeth, Union, Linden, and the greater Union County area with all manner of child support modifications.
Whether your financial situation has changed dramatically through the loss of a job or an injury or illness, or you believe it is in your child’s best interest to receive child support payments directly, our firm is ready to provide effective, knowledgeable, and compassionate legal service to help you modify your child support payments as necessary.
To speak with our office today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce or child support modification issue, please contact us online, or through our Linden, NJ office at (908) 481-4625.