Can You Pay Child Support Straight to the Child?

May 19, 2013
Ron Shulman

Article written by Ron Shulman

A court order for child support reflects an obligation by one separated or divorced parent to pay financial support to the other in respect of the child they have together.

Generally speaking, the process for paying support is straightforward:  the paying parent remits money to the recipient parent (i.e. the one who has custody of the child), and that parent then uses it to pay for the child’s day-to-day living expenses, and to cover various expenditures.

(Note that in cases where there has been default in paying support over a period of time, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) may step in, in which case payment will take other routes – for example it may be made direct from the paying spouse’s employer to the FRO, who then pays the recipient via direct deposit).

But in the normal scenario, one parent pays the other, and that parent spends the support money on the child.

I am sometimes asked whether it is possible to have the paying parent pay money to the child directly, thereby circumventing the custodial parent altogether.   Naturally, this question usually arises in connection with a parent paying support for older children of the marriage who are likely to be able to handle their own finances to some extent.

The answer to this question is generally “NO,” unless the parents expressly agree otherwise.  According to an Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision called Sareen v. Sareen, 2010 ONSC 1530,child support payments should be paid to the parent who is entitled to receive the support, rather than to the child directly, even where the “child” of the marriage is really an adult (i.e. is over 18) but still lives at home and/or attends school and therefore remains dependant on the parents for support.

Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers that can provide who can provide practical advice and effective representation in connection with child support obligations and entitlement in Ontario. Contact us to set up a consultation.