Going back and forth to court over child support issues gets expensive fast. Luckily, you're not required to handle your support matter this way. If you and your co-parent work out an agreement on your own and file it in court so it's still enforceable, you can save time, stress, and money.
Creating Your Child Support Agreement
As you go through a child custody case, you'll probably very concerned about how the new time sharing will affect your children. You can address this concern by reaching a child support agreement with your co-parent. Money is often a sticking point in divorce and custody cases. When you're able to come to an agreement on financial support, you can help minimize the contention in your case and make the entire process easier.
You and your co-parent will have to handle disagreements independently to reach an agreement without the court's direction. It's still wise to work with a family law attorney on the agreement to ensure everything is covered. The attorney will review your order to confirm the terms are enforceable and account for all of your children's needs.
Entering Your Child Support Order in Court
You'll still need approval from a judge for your support order even if you create it outside of the court. Without official court entry, your agreement isn't legally enforceable. Should your spouse stop paying, for example, you won't be able to ask the court for immediate help without an official order in place.
A judge will usually only approve child support orders they view as fair. An order which has one parent paying far less than they would under the support guidelines, for instance, might not pass muster with the court. As you work with your spouse and family law attorney on the agreement, keep the fairness of the terms in mind.
Changing Your Support Order
Just as you can make your child support agreement outside of court, you can also agree with your co-parent to modify the order later. A change in circumstances — such as a job loss — could merit a support modification. As with your original agreement, enter any changes in court so the new terms are enforceable.
Contact a family law attorney for assistance if you have any questions about your child support agreement. Your attorney will guide you through the process so you can present a comprehensive, fair agreement to the court.