Article by: Gregory Wagner 
Founder of SmartCoparent and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)

Is It Better To Pay Child Support Directly or Indirectly ?

For most parents, standard child support is usually paid directly to the non-custodial parent.
When it comes to agreeing on a growing list of shared miscellaneous expenses (school tuition, camp, lessons, sitter, after-school activities and healthcare costs), tensions can arise between co-parents. Support payments can get delayed (or ignored).
Having the non-custodial parent pay miscellaneous support expenses indirectly may encourage support payments to happen faster, more often.


What is an Indirect Support Payment?
Paying support Indirectly is the act of a non-custodial parent paying expenses to a third party (i.e. paying the sitter directly, or camp fees directly) instead of paying the custodial parent.
The benefits of paying support expenses indirectly
  • Payments from the non-custodial parent may become significantly more reliable, as the support payer gets the opportunity to be more directly involved in children’s expenses.
  • The support payer may find some personal satisfaction in not paying the custodial parent directly.
  • The support payer may be less obliged to object if they make payments to a third party and those expenses increase over time.
  • Reduces or eliminates the risk of third parties not being paid by the custodial parent.


The risks of paying support expenses indirectly
  • Some support payers may not be reliable to pay third parties.
  • The custodial parent may be less obliged to share increased third party costs if payments are made indirectly (instead of directly to the custodial parent).

Final Thoughts

If a support payer often resists paying support directly, it may be a better option to have certain expenses be paid indirectly to a third party.
*Check the divorce decree or stipulation agreement to determine whether there is language involving direct support. If your case went to trial, a judge may have declared that support be paid directly.
In most cases however, miscellaneous support payments can be paid indirectly. Talk with your co-parent and see if arranging indirect support payments can help encourage a more peaceful co-parenting financial relationship.
If you want to learn more about how SmartCoparent can help you initiate direct or indirect support payments, please check out our ‘Help’ articles below or drop us note at


New SmartCoparent Feature Enhancement: 

Make to Indirect Payments (With Accountability)
SmartCoparent lets payers make indirect payments while keeping the non-custodial parent informed
Our new function allows for non-custodial parents to initiate payments either directly to support recipients, or to third parties.
  • Our new initiate payment functions uses PayPal’s world class person-to-person payment service.
  • Support payers can now initiate payments directly to support recipients, without requiring a support payment request.
  • Payers can now send payments to any third party. Payments made this way will update both the support payer’s and payee’s expense and payment dashboards.
How to initiate direct support payments on SmartCoparent
How to initiate indirect support payments on SmartCoparent
If you would like to leave a comment on this article, feel free to send an anonymous note at the bottom of this page.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • alain smithee
    April 1, 2019 5:24 pm

    The reason that I object to paying ‘child support’ to my voluntarily unemployed ex-wife and her cohabiting paramour is that they treat the money as their personal income that they can spend any way they pleas. I have asked the family court judge to let me use a child support trust account in the form of a special purpose joint checking account to provide for our children’s needs, but Her Honor (sarcasm intended) told me that “your [ex-]wife” (NOT our children) “deserves that money”.
    Child support is the only trust relationship that I am aware of that does not require the trustee to provide an accounting for how the body of the trust (the child support payment) is spent in order go guarantee that the body of the trust is actually used for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries (the children).
    This same family court judge denied my request for shared custody by stating that “children belong with the mother”. And Her Honor wonders why I am helping her opponent in the upcoming judicial election. I’ll take a chance with the devil I don’t know instead of continuing to deal with the gender biased devil I do know.


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