Does Child Support End After A Parent’s Death?

child supportQuestion:

If the custodial parent receiving child support passes away and the non-custodial parent assumes custody, do the child support payments stop? What happens to the debt if the non-custodial parent owes arrears?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I practice in Pennsylvania, an action for child support may be brought on behalf of the child by, among other options, a person who has custody of the child or a person caring for the child regardless of whether that person has custody per a court order. See Pa.R.C.P. 1910.3(a).

Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan
Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan, IV

Therefore, if such a person is no longer alive in order to receive such payments, the county’s Domestic Relations Office may need to be alerted to confirm the death of the payee.

If a support order includes spousal support in addition to child support, Pennsylvania law specifically states that such an order shall terminate upon the death of the spouse or ex-spouse who was receiving the payments. Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-4(f)(3).

Due to the sensitive and extremely fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Ohio and how they particularly impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer William J. Phelan, IV, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Does Child Support End After A Parent’s Death?

    I am confused by this and am looking for a general majority rule or common law rule.

    Issue: Does the child support obligation continue to the estate or does it disappear once the obligated parent dies?

    Issue 2: If the obligation continues–if obligated parent leaves blackacre to child in fee simple, would the child support obligation to the estate be reduced by blackacres value?

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