Resolutions are Possible
Child Support can certainly be resolved by Agreement between two parents. But how do two parents in agreement accomplish formalizing that understanding?
Methods to Reaching a Support Agreement
1. Child Support Consent Order. This is the best method in most cases to formalize a child support agreement.
The amount, due date, and payment mechanism should be clearly established in the Consent Order. The Order would be signed by a Judge and, if done properly, will have the same legal effect as if the parties went to Court and had a trial on child support. So long as the order is a “permanent” child support order, the payor will be protected from any claims for arrears or underpayment, and the payee should easier redress (through a show cause action) if the payor fails to pay in accordance with the Consent Order.
The downsides are that Consent Orders require a support lawsuit to be filed before entry, and also require considerable expertise in drafting pleadings and the Consent Order terms. It is always advisable to have a local divorce lawyer assist you with the formalization of child support via Consent Order.
2. Written Agreement. Many people resolve child support in written agreements, typically contained within Separation Agreement’s and Property Settlements.
A child support agreement between two parties can be entered into via contract. These agreements are not as effective as Consent Orders as the Court always has the ability to review them (if anyone seeks child support be determined in Court ignoring the written agreement) and if the Court finds the amount insufficient to meet the reasonable needs of the minor children they can establish a different award (typically guideline amount).
The Courts and the law do however recognize that the parents are in a pretty good position to determine the reasonable needs of the minor child and will defer to that if they can.
Understand however that child support can never be WAIVED, however, an experienced family lawyer can assist you in drafting an agreement which should accomplish the same goals to the maximum extent possible.
3. Understand that child support can always change and can never be truly made “permanent.” Courts may at any time change child support in the event of a change of circumstances or at any time after 3 years entry of a Consent Order.
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