HomeChild SupportChild support/ dependent college student?
Posted in Child Support on 29th December 2011

Child support/ dependent college student?
So I am getting ready to move away to college over the summer, and part way through my first year I will turn 19. My parents (divorced 5 years) live in BC and I will move to another province.

My father will continue to pay child support to my mother until I am done college ( he pays for my 12 yr.o. brother as well) as per the usual agreement to continue as long as the child is a dependent.
I however, have different views, and really wish to receive any financial support from my father directly (once I am 19). I believe that as long as he wants to support me, he will, and if he chooses not to, then I will deal with it personally.I want my relationship with my father to be personal and I am tired of having him and my mother connected in any way over me.

So far my mother refuses to come to any agreement with me other than to continue to receive ‘my’ share of the child support after I am 19. (of course she will be helping me out financially). I have only spoken with her–she has not discussed it with my father or anything–so my father doesn’t know about it.

To any parents out there, or even students in the same situation, do you think I should have any say in this? I really really wish to receive aid directly and separately from my parents. I feel it would be better for my relationship with my father; I know he resents paying child support for the sheer fact that he has a lot of bitterness toward my mother.

So can I do anything without actually getting my father to file papers? I mean obviously I can’t DO anything, but do I at least have some solid ground to stand on when trying to discuss this with my mother? She claims she has ‘reasons’ for wanting to receive the support for me still and that it isn’t my business at all. I disagree, because I am trying my best to be as much of an adult as possible and would really like to deal with my financial support on my own. I am tired of hearing the words “child support”.
So does it seem completely unreasonable for the child support for my part to end? It will still be payed for my brother of course. I don’t know how to approach my mother because she refuses to talk to me like I should have a say or know anything at all about any finances.

Opinions? Thanks– I am so very unhappy with the situation.

Bob– thank you for the long, thoughtful, answer. I wasn’t expecting such a thought-out response.

I think you mistook what I was trying to get across– I think I forgot to mention that the money from my dad would go directly to my landlord or school for tuition, so I guess it wouldn’t actually be going to my bank account. Sorry, I messed that part up.

Also when I said “of course she’ll be supporting me” I was really trying to say she’s great in the fact that she’s doing her best to support me, and will continue to.

So as to the rest, I think answering what my spending habits, budget, and work situation are like is impertinent.

Haha just to mention I do think I have absolutely great money management skills. My parents would agree 100% and they would send me money directly should I ever need it. That was not supposed to be brought into the question either:) I think the fact that I have managed to save over $ 8000 in the last 3 years, while not impressive, notes that I have the ability to save SOME money. Btw, this will all go to my tuition next year. My goal is to get the least amount of support from my parents that is possible.

Best answer(s):

Answer by Bob
I am not sure what you are unhappy about. Is your mother using the money from your father for your actual support or is she spending it on new clothes for herself?

Typically a child of 19 that is going to college has significant expenses such as college tuition, medical expenses, insurance, taxes and room/board. Many of these need to be paid in large lump sums such as every 6 or 12 months. If I were your father, I would be concerned that you would spend the child support from him on video games or pizza as soon as you got it and then not have money to cover your major expenses. Too many teenagers see money and think they can spend it on “fun” stuff not realizing how expensive many of the “boring” things are. Teenagers typically do not have good budgeting skills. How are your money management skills? How many hours a week do you work (as a 19 year old in college – 15~20 hours is typical during the school year and 40-65 hours/week in the summer). How much of your college tuition, room & board, insurance payments do you cover based on your personal earnings (not money from parents)? Do you have a written budget and track your spending? Does less than 10% of your personal income from your own jobs go for “fun” stuff including hair products, makeup and clothes? Does the rest go for college expenses? Have you ever used drugs, drank or smoked while underage, driven too fast or in a reckless manner? Do you treat others with respect, have you ever gotten in trouble at school, do you attend church at least weekly? Do the above answers demonstrate you are well on your way to being a responsible adult?

I know that child support is tacky terminology for a 19 year old. However you are being supported by your parents until you get out of school, get a real job and are living on your own. If your parents were still together, I doubt if they would send you large checks every month for you to manage and trust that you would pay your tuition, etc on time. Giving you the money to manage has a huge downside for them if you spend it foolishly but what upside is in it for them to give you this money directly? Have you demonstrated over the past 3-4 years that you are responsible with money or have you spent money on things they thought were a waste of money?

Finally – there may be legal reasons for your father to pay your mother child support payments directly to her based on the court settlement. Normally the father would have to show the court that he has been providing your mother with funds for your support. Money that he would send directly to you would be a gift and not considered part of the child support agreement.

All of the above assumes your mother is spending the child support payments to put a roof over your head and food in your belly. If she is a crack addict then you should have your father petition the court to have you and your brother removed from your mother’s custody and placed under your father’s.

However I suspect that you are a spoiled brat because of your comment ” (of course she will be helping me out financially). ” …. Why do you expect her to help you financially but not control how the money is spent? It seems like you should appreciate that your parents are paying (probably a great deal) to send you to college far from home instead of saving the money by having you live at home and go to a local school or even say that once you are out of high school that you are on your own and just kick you out of her house without any more financial support.

Your attitude makes me sick. You should appreciate what you are being given by both parents. When you grow up – I hope you remember to apologize to your mother for this tirade of yours. From the sounds of it – you sound like an awful kid.

Note that if you have your own job and are paying for a significant amount of your own expenses then financial support from your parents would be less of an issue. Many kids work full time (ie 40 hours+/week) during the school year, you can too.

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