California law sets forth specific guidelines for child support based on both parents’ incomes, the number of children of the marriage (or joint children, for non-married parents), and other statutory factors. Most people feel as if child support discussions can be contentious, especially if there are other issues involved, such as spousal support and parenting time. Because of this, it might be beneficial for the parties to negotiate a support amount.
Of course, there is nothing under California law that requires parties to work together on finding a beneficial amount, but there are several benefits to reaching a compromise.
Likelihood of payment –
When parties have control over payment schedules (and support amounts) they are much more likely to follow it, compared to those who are subject to an order handed down by a family court judge.
Additional payments –
For parties who may be comfortable with a lower basic support amount, this may allow for payment of other activities that may not be covered by statutory support (i.e. dance classes, swimming lessons, sports leagues).
Non-traditional payment plans –
Some parents who depend on commission schedules, or state employees who are paid once per month, may benefit from non-traditional payment plans. As such, negotiating on how payments will be made can be a benefit.
Naturally, every child support situation is different; and as we said before, parties are not required under statute to negotiate these (or similar) terms into their agreements. However, working together to reach a compromise on child support may help in fostering a co-parenting relationship.