Reaching a child support agreement
Florida parents who are ending their marriages will likely have child support issues to work out. They could reach a child support agreement through informal negotiations or alternative dispute resolution proceedings.
Forming a child support agreement through negotiations might be ideal when the parents are able to communicate with each other without discord. Many couples choose to go this route and have their respective attorneys review the final agreement, while others have their attorneys take the lead from the outset. In either event, the goal is to produce a written agreement that specifies the amount, frequency and duration of the child support payments.
Negotiations can happen if both parents are willing to work together. If parents have issues that they need to address first, ADR could be appropriate. This allows parents to discuss and solve the problems that prevent an agreement. Mediation or collaborative law are two such options. While more formal than negotiations, they are less rigid than going to court. Mediation involves a neutral third party who attempts to have the couple reach an accord, while in collaborative law each spouse has a team of professional advisers, including an attorney and perhaps a divorce coach and accountant or other financial help.
Regardless of how the agreement is reached, it is put in writing and submitted to the court for its approval. The court will review it to ensure that it is fair and not in violation of state child support guidelines. Once approved, it will become a court order. This is important, as it will allow a parent who is having trouble collecting support to go back to court and have it enforced.