Can Child Support Be Waived if Both Parents Agree?
In Florida child support child support is a calculation primarily based on income and the amount of overnights that the parent has the child. At times, parents wonder if they can mutually agree to waive child support obligations. While this might seem like a legal agreement between two adults that the courts wouldn’t have a problem with, it impacts the child and can affect the state. Therefore, courts don’t generally allow both parents to formally agree to waive child support. However, they do have some options.
Stipulated Child Support Agreements
Parents of minor children have a legal and ethical duty to support and maintain their children financially. Under Florida’s child support law, parents can’t waive child support obligations. Together, parents can stipulate and agree on the amount of child support payments. However, Florida law states that the amount of aid must be in the child’s best interests. Support agreements must be approved by the state’s family law court. Child support agreements are only approved if the financial benefits provide for the proper care and maintenance of the child. If they aren’t enough, they won’t be approved.
In most cases, it’s the parent receiving child support who enforces child support orders by reporting any non-payments to the appropriate family court or a state agency. Even though a parent can decide not to do this if the other parent isn’t paying child support, their non-reporting doesn’t legally waive child support and isn’t a court-sanctioned practice. Furthermore, parents receiving child support and also seeking government benefits, like welfare or food stamps, are often required to name the child’s father and cooperate with legal child support enforcement actions. Not accepting child support could make them ineligible for these types of benefits.
In some circumstances, the court may allow the parents to agree to waive or stop child support payments. This is typically done in rare circumstances, like if the paying parent loses their job or experiences a medical emergency.
If both parents agree, child support payments can be waived or stopped. However, the judge has the legal right to override such an agreement if they feel it’s unfair to the child. As such, a judge can still order child support even if both parents state they do not need it. The good news is that, in practice, family court judges tend to follow parental agreements unless they suspect one parent hasn’t entered the decision in good faith.
Learn More from a Florida Child Support Attorney
Experienced family law attorney Brian McMahon knows that child support can be confusing, stressful, and challenging to navigate, depending on your personal and family circumstances. You may have difficulty paying it, your situation might change, or you may not see a need to collect it from your child’s other parent. If you have questions about child support or your potential rights to waive or change it, call our office at 561-658-1789 or contact us online.