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What you need to know about negotiating your child support settlement agreement in California 

A great solution for you and your ex-partner is to negotiate a child support agreement with the assistance of one of Minella Law Group’s highly experienced Family Law Attorneys. We have the ability to create a support arrangement tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

It is possible to reach a settlement with your ex-partner taking into account your child’s best interest and with equal fairness to both sides. It is certainly not easy and quite difficult at times, but we can help you get through this emotional process and guide you in negotiating a support payment that both of you can live with.

Negotiation process. It is important that you and the other parent work together to resolve all issues pertaining to child support. If there is a heated dispute, we have the experience to lay out all of the many options, analyze and resolve the reason for dispute and determine a solution that all parties can agree. If all these issues can be worked out, we will incorporate your negotiations into a written agreement that will be submitted to a judge for approval. The main issues include amount of payment, payment frequency and duration of payments.

Amount of child support. To figure out an amount for child support, it is first suggested to produce a monthly budget for the child. Allocations for household expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities and food, and clothing costs, extracurricular activities and camps, should all be added. After both parents have come up with a budget, we can assist you in determining how much a parent should contribute, according to the California guidelines. It is also a good idea to determine any cost of living increases on say increases in your income.

Frequency of child support payments. You can agree to whatever frequency you want with court approval. Frequency is generally determined by the obligated parent’s employment pay period. For example, if he or she is paid monthly, then payments are made monthly.

Duration of child support. Child support should continue until the child is emancipated at age 18. There are other events that can trigger child support termination such as entry into the military, marriage or full-time employment. The parties may extend child support beyond emancipation. For example, you may agree with the other parent that child support will continue through college.

Making the child support agreement final. When parents are able to agree on a child support amount, it must ultimately be submitted to a judge for approval. In general, California courts follow the statewide child support guidelines in determining child support. The judge will carefully evaluate and ensure the agreement complies with all legal requirements and is fair to each parent. Once the agreement is approved by the court, it will become part of the divorce decree in the common case of divorce.

If the child support agreed upon is different than the statewide guideline calculation, a judge will consider approving your child support agreement if the following are true:

1. A court case exists between the parents, and

2. Each parent:

  • Has full knowledge of their child support rights,
  • Has full knowledge of the amount of child support they would be receiving if there was no agreement (generally calculated by the DissoMaster computer program),
  • Are under no pressure and are not forced to settle with the agreed upon amount of child support,
  • Does not receive public assistance,
  • Has not applied for public assistance,
  • Declares that the child’s needs will be adequately met, and
  • Believes the child support amount is in the best interest of the child.

If the judge finds that the support agreement was fairly negotiated and that state guidelines have been met, the agreement will generally be approved. It will then become a binding court order and both parents must abide by it.

Minella Law Group can assist in negotiating your child support settlement agreement in San Diego

The Child Support Lawyers at Minella Law Group will work to secure your best interest in calculating and negotiating the amount of child support you will pay or receive. Determining and negotiating a child support agreement can be quite complex and difficult, and is so critical in ensuring the stability of you and your family. Our Family Law Attorneys will support you and work to protect your personal, financial and family well-being through diligent investigation, careful analysis, and experienced advocacy.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, click below or call us at (619) 289-7948. We look forward to helping you.