Who Pays Child Support if Grandparents Have Child Custody?

March 18, 2024by Adam Sacks

Child Support and Grandparents Who Have Custody

The person who pays child support typically is the non-custodial parent and the person paid is most often the parent who is raising the children. Non-parent guardians and grandparents can also seek child support if they have custody. In some cases, grandparents have the legal standing to sue for child support for their grandchildren in their custody.

To receive child support, evidence of the parent’s income and ability to pay may be required. This is to ensure that the amount of support is fair and appropriate based on the financial circumstances of the parents. Non-parent guardians and grandparents seeking child support may also need to provide evidence of the child’s needs and expenses.

To clarify terminology, child custody refers to the legal and practical responsibility of a child, including making important decisions about their upbringing and where they live and child support refers to the financial support provided by a parent for the upbringing of their child. [1]


Grandparents as Custodial Parents

Grandparents may find themselves taking on the role of custodial parents for their grandchildren. This can be a challenging and rewarding experience, as grandparents navigate the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of raising children once again. Grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren for various reasons, including:

  • Legal separation or divorce of the child’s parents
  • The best interests of the child
  • The child living with the grandparent with parental consent
  • The death of one or both of the birth parents


Grandparents as Custodial Parents


In cases where the child’s parents are unable to provide a safe and stable living environment, grandparents may step in to take custody to ensure the child’s well-being. Family courts consider a variety of factors when grandparents request visitation rights, including:

  • The distance between parents and grandparents
  • The lifestyle of the grandparents
  • The child’s attachment to their parents and grandparents

The court also takes into account the willingness of the grandparents to foster a healthy relationship between the child and their parents. The child’s emotional and physical needs, as well as any potential impact on the child’s well-being, are carefully evaluated.


Purpose of Child Support

When parents separate or divorce, the well-being of their children is a top priority. Child support obligations are a necessary aspect of ensuring that children continue to receive the financial support they need after their parent’s separation. These obligations are legally binding and are intended to cover a range of expenses, including any essential needs such as:

  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Housing


Who Pays When Grandparents Have Custody?

When grandparents have custody of a child, it can raise questions about who is responsible for paying child support. In many cases, the parents are still obligated to provide financial assistance for their child, even if the child is primarily residing with the grandparents.

The specifics vary by jurisdiction, but generally, a non-custodial parent is expected to pay child support. This responsibility is typically determined by the court, taking into consideration the income of both parents, the child’s needs, and other relevant factors. When the child’s grandparents are providing for the child’s daily needs, the parents are expected to contribute financially through child support payments.

At times, grandparents may seek child support from one or both of the child’s parents, particularly if they need additional financial assistance to support the child. If a grandparent who is raising their grandchild is financially stable, they may choose not to pursue child support.

The decision about who pays child support when grandparents have custody involves legal considerations and what is in the best interest of the child. Understanding obligations and rights under the law is helpful to ensure the child’s well-being is prioritized.


Child Support Responsibilities When Grandparents Have Custody


Contact our experienced attorneys at Sacks & Sacks today to discuss your custody case or your family law needs.



Q. Can grandparents seek for child custody?

When parents are unable to provide a safe and stable living environment, grandparents may take custody of the child to ensure their well-being.

Q. Who should pay child support when the grandparents have the child’s custody?

Parents are still responsible for contributing financially to their child’s needs, even if the child’s grandparents are providing support.

Q. What do grandparents need to receive child support?

Proof of the parent’s income and financial capacity may be necessary to qualify for child support. [2]



[1] California, S. O. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions | CA Child Support Services. CA Child Support Services. https://childsupport.ca.gov/faq/

[2] 45 CFR § 302.56 – Guidelines for setting child support orders. (n.d.). LII / Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/302.56

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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