Also, is it more beneficial to pay through the state or directly to the custodial parent?
I can’t speak for all jurisdictions in response to this question, but I can answer it as it applies in Utah, where I practice divorce and family law.
First, these are two very good questions. A question all child support payors (also known as “child support obligors”) should ask and to which they should know the answer.
Second, the short answer to your two questions (question #1: If you pay child support directly but want to pay through the state instead, can this be done without asking the court for permission?; question #2: Is it more beneficial to pay through the state or directly to the custodial parent?) is, in my opinion, yes and yes.
Here are some helpful links about setting up an account with ORS to pay child support through ORS, whether by garnishment of your pay checks or by paying child support directly to ORS:
Pay Child Support – State of Utah Office of Recovery Services (https://ors.utah.gov/child-support/pay-child-support/)
Although it can be a little confusing, to apply to set up an account pay child support through ORS, you have to click on the “Apply for Child Support” button. The button more accurately should read “Apply for Child Support Services” because one can click the button both to apply to have ORS *receive* child support for an obligee and to apply to have ORS collect child support from an obligor.
Here is the link to that page: Instructions for Child Support Services Application (https://orsoac.dhs.utah.gov/orsoacapp-hs/orsoacweb/actions/Oac0005)
Answer to question #1: If you are currently paying child support directly to the parent or guardian whom the court ordered receives the child support payments but want to have the state government oversee and administer (and, most importantly, keep a record of) your payments, this can be done, and it does not require a court order to so do. The way it is done is by applying to the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) either to garnish your paychecks each time you receive a pay check (if you are not self-employed) or to make arrangements with ORS to pay child support directly to ORS, who then turns around and sends your child support payments to the child support payee (also known as the “obligee”).
Answer to question #2: I feel it is more beneficial to pay child support through ORS than to pay directly to the child support obligee because paying through ORS results in ORS keeping records of your child support payments, which can be a real boon if the child support obligee ever makes false claims that you did not pay for a given period of time. **Bear in mind that ORS is not infallible **(I’ve witnessed them make mistakes and fail to credit a payor with a payment sometimes), so you still need to keep your own records of the child support payments you send to ORS to send to the child support obligee. Still, ORS gets it right more often than not, and the courts find a record from ORS showing your payment history to be some of the best evidence of your payment history there is.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277