What happens with child support after a parent dies? Know about child support for custodial & non-custodial parents
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Several questions arise regarding child support after the death of his/her parent. Because in case of the death of a parent, does monetary child support continue and if so, what is the protocol that needs to be followed?

The general answer to this is that child support does continue to be provided even after a parent’s death and the obligation to support a child does not die with the parent.

While child custody laws vary by state, this legal standing has been agreed upon by all, due to strong public policy reason. For a child to be continue being cared for, a child support fund plays an important role. However to make this possible, a child support order requires to be modified after the death of a parent.

The question of where this child support comes from arises next. Usually the child support fund is raised from the following:

1Life Insurance

The life insurance policy of a parent serves as a primary source to derive child support from. Since it is a general norm to name children as their beneficiaries, after the death of a parent, the child would be entitled to collect funds from this insurance policy. These policies are crucial especially if the parent did not have other assets or sources of income. Insurance policies are meant to protect the surviving family members in case of a person’s premature death.

2Social Security

The next source to look at for child support would be a parent’s social security. This would however require court visits and filing proper documents. But child supports are usually placed on the top of the hierarchy of where payments are required to be doled out.

3The Parent’s Estate

A parent’s estate can also be an excellent source to make child support payments from. An estate can include houses, cars, bank accounts etc., that were owned by the parent. However it is essential to note that claiming child support through a parent’s estate requires a prompt filing of creditor’s claim against the said property.
When an estate is to be distributed, child support will be at the top of the pecking order yet again but the legal procedure laid down has to be followed carefully. Thus in this scenario it is advisable to contact and experienced probate attorney and understand the procedure for the same.

4Non-custodial or Custodial?

If your child is not currently living with you, i.e., you are a non-custodial parent, and you would want to become a custodial parent after the death of the other parent, it is possible through law to do so. A child custody modification is required to be made through the courts for you to gain complete custody, as it has happened in many cases before.

However, following are some circumstances that might be considered by courts to discontinue child support responsibilities.

  • Is no more a minor, i.e. reaches the age of majority (usually 18) or an age specified in support order documents
  • Enters military service
  • Marries
  • Is adopted
  • Is placed with the support payer guardian
  • Dies
  • Is emancipated

So, it is really important to keep in mind when negotiating divorce and child custody terms to think through and prepare for all possible scenarios like what will happen to the child support and custody if one of parent dies? Another scenario to be considered could be the death of either the custodial or non-custodial parent.

It is always advised to seek professional help to secure your child’s future.

Originally posted 2017-08-08 09:56:11.


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