The State of Georgia recognizes that child support is essential to providing financial stability to children whose parents are no longer together. Child support can help provide financial assistance to pay for your child’s housing, food, and other needs. However, if the obligated parent dies while your child is still young, concerns may arise. 

You may be worried about how you will continue to provide for your child and whether you are still entitled to collect child support. Understanding child support and when you are entitled to receive it can help make this challenging time more manageable. 

When Child Support Ends in Georgia

Georgia law states that child support ends at the following time, whichever occurs first:

  • The child turns 18
  • The child marries
  • The child is emancipated
  • The child dies

If your child is in high school after turning 18, child support continues until age 20 if the child is still enrolled in school. 

Does Child Support Continue After the Payer’s Death?

Notably, Georgia law does not state that the child support obligation ends at the payer’s death. This is because the parent who was paying child support may still have the legal duty to continue paying support. 

How Is Child Support Paid After Death?

There are several ways that child support may be paid after death. Georgia law provides for the setting aside of the obligated amount of support. For example, if the deceased parent owed $20,000 in child support until the child turned 18 or 20 and has an estate of $50,000, this amount could be set aside to pay the child support obligation. 

How child support is paid after death can depend on how the deceased parent prepared their estate plan. This obligation could be paid through the provisions of a will or a trust. A trust is privately administered, while the probate court oversees payments through a will.

Georgia courts have the power to order that child support continue to be paid from the deceased parent’s estate. It is also possible that the parent had life insurance or was ordered to maintain a life insurance policy to pay the amount of their outstanding child support obligation. 

How Death Affects Child Support Payments

Many parents pay child support through income withholdings that automatically deduct the amount of their child support obligations from each paycheck. When they pass away, this income stream disappears, along with the withholdings. It may be necessary for the surviving parent to take legal action to ensure the child support obligation is paid. 

The parent who is supposed to receive child support may have to file a claim with the estate. This may become part of the probate proceedings. 

Suppose the custodial parent passes away, and the non-custodial parent assumes custody. That parent may need to seek an official child support modification to change the current court order and obligation. 

Other Financial Support for Children of Deceased Parents

The custodial parent may be concerned about how to provide financially for their children when the non-custodial parent dies. If the obligated parent was working at the time of their death and paying Social Security taxes, they may be entitled to Social Security benefits. A parent can apply for benefits on behalf of their minor child.

An Experienced Child Support Lawyer Can Help You Pursue Financial Support

If the obligated parent has passed away or you are worried this might happen, it’s important to receive the help of an experienced child support lawyer. A child support lawyer can review your case, explain your legal rights and options, and help you navigate the process ahead.

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.