Can We Agree On Child Support?
Anytime a family law attorney has a case that involves minor children you can be assured that 100% of the time the issue of child support will arise at some point. Sometimes child support is bitterly litigated and at other times the parties have no objections to the guideline payment that is calculated. Most cases involving children will go to mediation and a little more than half of those usually settle without going to trial. Leading up to mediation in custody and support cases one of the big questions on the minds of many litigants is “can we agree on our own child support payment or do we have to follow these guidelines”.
In Florida, the law says that child support is the right of the child and is not able to be bargained away by the parents in the settlement process. This means that the parties are not permitted to agree to waive child support or to agree on an amount lower than minimum guidelines. The parties, however, can agree on an amount higher than what they expect guidelines to be.
That being said, there have been cases where the judge has exercised his or her latitude to exclude a child support obligation in certain cases where other types of support are being provided to the child that meet with the Court’s satisfaction and are in the child’s best interests. Your Orlando child custody attorney can let you know if your case is one where this type of arrangement is possible considering the facts of your case.
Sometimes when knowledgeable attorneys are not involved in this process an unrepresented party may agree to a child support amount that is lower or higher than the unrepresented party should have gotten and the agreement will go, unintentionally, under the judge’s radar and get signed into a final judgment. If you have a pending child support case and you do not have an attorney then you should speak to a attorney as soon as possible.
Sean Smallwood is a family & divorce attorney, motivational speaker, and guest blogger in Orlando Florida. He works for the firm of Cohen Battisti as the family law and divorce attorney.