An Out-Of-Court Child Support Agreement May be a Waste of Time

Many times parents try to resolve a child support dispute by entering into some sort of financial agreement themselves without the Court getting involved.  This may be to avoid the costs of filing a support action, to keep the peace or the paying parent may be simply taking advantage of the other parent.   No matter what the reason, an out of court child support agreement may seem like an easy way to avoid a dispute and court involvement.  However, an out of court child support agreement may be nothing more than a waste of time.

Child support is for the benefit of the child and a parent cannot negotiate away the statutory rights of the child.  In order to protect the rights of a child, there are specific income based guidelines that the Court must follow when determining the appropriate amount of child support. If an out of court child support agreement provides for less child support than what is required by the statutory guidelines it will not protect the paying parent from having to pay more, nor will it prohibit the receiving parent from going after the child support the law entitled them to.  The parent entitled to the support can bring an action against the payee parent to recover back child support at any time.  In other words, if you are the paying parent and entered into a child support agreement without the court’s intervention, you may be required to pay back child support equivalent to what you should have paid pursuant to the statutory guidelines.   The difference could mean thousands of dollars.