CAN PARENTS CREATE THEIR OWN CHILD SUPPORT AGREEMENT?
Parents can negotiate child support independently, with the help of an attorney. They can agree to make payments monthly, in a lump sum, or sometimes even in a property settlement. Many parents have money taken out of their paycheck, which is then distributed to the other parent through the state. Some parents pay exactly according to the state guidelines, some pay more, and some agree to pay less. If both parents make the same amount of money and split the time with the children 50/50, there may be no child support at all. As long as the child’s best interests are provided for, the agreement is fair, and a judge signs off on it, the arrangement that works best for both parents is usually the right choice.
Do We Have to Have a Formal Child Support Agreement?
Some parents who have never been married hope to avoid the hassle and expense of a court altogether and enter into a mere verbal agreement with their child’s other parent. This can be a major mistake for the parent paying child support because courts may not recognize that child support has been paid at all, especially if there is no proof of payments. Likewise, the parent receiving child support will have a much greater challenge getting child support payments if the paying parent stops paying. Doing more work upfront to legally establish a child support order can save parents a lot of time and money.