An Advocate In Family Law Cases

Can I pay child support in cash in California?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Child Custody & Support

Parenting comes with a ton of responsibilities. One of these is the responsibility to provide and care for your child until they can be on their own. And most parents take this responsibility to heart. 

When the marital relationship is broken, however, one of the most contentious questions that parents must contend with is how the child will be provided for. This arrangement is usually articulated in a child support order. So, as the paying parent, can you meet your ex and hand them child support in hard cash?

Understanding child support laws

Every state has laws that govern how child support payments can be made. That said, whether or not you can pay child support in cash depends on several factors. One of these is the court order that directed you to pay child support. Sometimes, the court may specify exactly how you should make the payments. Thus, if the court expressly specifies a non-cash mode like credit card, bank transfer or money order, then it is important that you go with the court’s directive. 

However, if the court is silent on the payment method, then you and your ex can discuss and agree on a payment method that will work for both of you. And this may include paying in cash. 

So, what if you adopt the cash payment method?

Paying child support in cash might be fast and convenient. It also comes with its share of risks. Without clear payment records, your ex might sue for unpaid child support, and this can get you in trouble, especially if you do not keep a clear paper trail. That said, here are two steps you can take to protect yourself when paying child support in cash:

  • Clearly document every payment made (note down the date you made the payment as well as the amount).
  • Clearly let your ex know what the money is meant for. Never assume that your ex will automatically treat all cash you give them as child support.

The decision to pay child support in cash largely depends on the nature of the court order as well as the circumstances of your case. Understanding how California child support laws work can help you safeguard your interests while paying child support in cash.