Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Are you allowed to bargain away child support by agreement?

As in the case of other family law matters, it may behoove Orange County, California, parents to come to an agreement as to how much child support one parent will pay to another. Reaching a negotiated agreement can help both parents feel that the support payment is fair, and it may, as a result, make it more likely that the parent who is paying support will do so willingly even in the long term.

While parents have considerable leeway when it comes to negotiating child support agreements between them, it is important for them to bear some principles in mind.

For one, the agreement needs to be negotiated fairly and above the table, meaning that the parents need to be open and honest with each other about their income and cannot try to press their edge in negotiation to the point where the other parent gets forced into an unreasonable deal.

Perhaps more importantly, the parents will need to demonstrate to a judge that their child support calculation follows California law, specifically the California Child Support Guidelines. The reason for this is that child support is, as its name implies, ultimately for the benefit and well-being of the child.

So, when a parent is not paying what the state law prescribes, even if the other parent agrees, then it can be rightly said that the couple's children are being harmed. As such, a judge will likely invalidate an agreement that seems to bargain away a child's support.

It is admirable when parents can come to an agreement about child support issues. However, there are a lot of reasons why the parents should still consult with their respective family law attorneys when negotiating a formal child support agreement.

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