While children bring much joy to a parent’s life, they also come with a price tag. Raising a child is very costly, and it is often burdensome for parents that are doing it alone or primarily alone.
Thus, when parents split due to divorce or a breakup, it is important that they establish how best to address the costs associated with raising their children.
For some, this process is easily accomplished; allowing them to create a child support agreement out of court.
There are two primary ways to accomplish an out-of-court child support agreement. The first is through an informal settlement negotiation, and the second is through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.
First, note that one cannot negotiate away the responsibility to pay child support. Under California law, both parents have a responsibility to pay for their child’s upbringing, and there are guidelines about how much they should pay. However, parents can negotiate certain details of their child support arrangements.
When moving forward with informal negotiations to reach a child support agreement, this could occur with just the parents alone, the parents with their attorneys or just their attorneys.
No matter how they move through the negotiation process, various issues must be decided. This includes who pays child support, the amount paid, the frequency of the payments, whether additional items will be covered beyond the basic support and how long child support with continue.
Alternative dispute resolution
ADR methods most commonly used when reaching a child support agreement include mediation and collaborative law. With a mediator, parents can be facilitated as they move through all the issues that need to be discussed. This process can be helpful, even if a conflict exists between parents. This process can also establish whether or not parents will be able to reach an agreement.
With regard to collaborative law, this process relied on the parents working together to reach an agreement. Parents will need to be amicable and willing to work with each other.
If negotiations, mediation or collaboration results in an agreement, one of their lawyers will need to prepare a final written agreement and file it with the court. While these are often timely and efficient ways to reach a final child support agreement, they are not the only ways to do this. Thus, it is important that you fully understand your situation and explore the options available to you.