Child support can be paid either directly to the parent who is owed support, or indirectly to the state of Washington. When a judge approves a child support order, that order will state how the child support should be paid. Some parents prefer to have payments handled through the state, so that the receiving parent does not have to worry about enforcing the payments and so that there is a clear record of payment. Other parents choose to handle these payments themselves without getting the state involved.
When a direct payment relationship between the parents stops working out, the parent who is owed child support also has the option of assigning his or her rights to collect the payment to the state’s division of child support.
As the children get older, there may be a third way to pay child support: directly to the child. In general, child support ends after a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. However, it is common for child support to continue as the child attends college or another post-secondary educational program. In this case, child support may continue until he or she reaches the age of 23.
If post-secondary support is ordered, the court will order the parent to make the payments directly to the child’s school. This ensures that the support is actually going towards its intended purpose and finances the child’s education.
If it is not possible to make payments to the school, the child support order could also allow the payments to go directly to the child. Usually, this is the case when the child does not live with a parent or guardian while attending school. If the child still lives at home, the court can still order the payments to go towards the child’s custodial parent.
If your child is getting older and you would like to make payments directly to your child or your child’s school, it is important to review your child support order. If the order does not contemplate post-secondary child support payments, you may be able to modify the order with the help of an experienced family law attorney.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we can help you create or modify a child support agreement that provides help for your children’s education. Our goal is to make sure that your children have the financial resources they need to become healthy, successful adults.
To learn more about how our family law attorneys can help you, contact our office today and schedule an appointment by calling 509-572-3700.