How does a Parent’s Death Affect Child Support?

The death of a parent is a very difficult event for everyone to deal with. It can make it even more challenging when child support payments are needed and those left behind have to determine what the death means in regards of child support payments. To determine what the next step should be, it will depend on whether the deceased is non-custodial or the custodial parent. Every family’s case is different and difficult. It is recommended if you are going through the death of a child’s parent to consult an attorney to discuss specific advice. If you are having child support issues, do not hesitate to contact experienced attorney, like child support lawyers Plano, TX families trust, to assist you with your case.

There are ways to receive child support payments after one of the parents dies.

Death of a Custodial Parent

If the custodial parent dies, the main focus will be who will care for the children. This could result in guardianship from the grandparents, the non-custodial parent, friends of the family, or other relatives. If the non-custodial parent takes on custody, they could try to modify their child support. They could also seek to receive child support from the deceased custodial parent’s estate to help with the costs of rising the children.

If the non-custodial parent does not take custody of the children after the death of the custodial parent, the appointed guardian could seek child support from the non-custodial parent as well as from the custodial parent’s estate.

Death of a Non-Custodial Parent

When the non-custodial parent dies, the custodial parent may be wondering how they will be able to afford taking care of their children. There are a few different situations to figure out how to receive support after the non-custodial parent’s death:

  1. If the deceased parent had a life insurance policy that names the children as beneficiaries, the surviving parent can call the insurance company to start the process of collecting the insurance policy for the child.
  2. If the deceased parent had any assets including houses, bank accounts, and cars, the estate will become responsible for paying for child support.
  3. If the deceased parent was employed, the surviving parent may try to receive benefits for the children from the Social Security Administration.
  4. If the deceased parent has a partner, the partner will receive notices from family court to continue paying child support. In this case, the surviving partner must call the family court to explain their partner’s death. They will need to provide a death certificate so the court can verify the death.

Creating an Estate Plan

The most important step to remember once you have children is to set up an estate plan. By creating an estate plan, it will directly address what happens when one parent dies. It is also important to update your estate plan if you and your spouse get divorced. Keeping an estate plan updated will ensure your children are taken care of when you die. After a parent’s death, the obligation of paying child support does not end with them. No matter the relationship of the parents at the time of death, it is in the best interest of the child for the surviving parent to keep receiving support.


Thank you to Scroggins Legal for providing their insight and authoring this piece on child support.