California couples whose marriages are ending and who have minor children often come to a child support agreement on their own. They may also come to an agreement by using alternate dispute resolution methods. If neither of those options are effective, a court may determine how much financial support a parent must provide to a child. However, when parents are able to come to an agreement on their own, it may still need to be approved by a judge.
Typically, this agreement will be put into writing, and it may be submitted to a court on its own or as part of a larger divorce settlement. The agreement should specify the amount of support a parent will provide, how often payments will be made and how long support will last. Parents may choose to negotiate on their own or with the help of their respective attorneys.
Mediation or arbitration may be a preferred alternative to litigation when it comes to determining child support. During mediation, parents and their attorneys work together to resolve their issues and move toward an agreement. The arbitration process involves both sides presenting evidence to a neutral party who then makes a ruling based on the available information. The latter procedure is not all that common in family law matters of this type, however.
Adequate financial support from a parent is important as it generally protects the best interests of the child. Those who fail to make payments may have their wages garnished or tax returns seized. However, people who are struggling to make support payments due to an unexpected setback may want to have a lawyer’s help in seeking an order modification that would lower future payments.