There is a common perception that determining the amount of child support that must be paid by one parent to the other will be a contentious process. However, that is not always the case and many parents can come to an agreement on their own. Provided they adhere to the guidelines or agree to deviate from it, the court will generally allow the agreement if it is in the child’s best interests.
Still, there are aspects that must be understood regarding an agreement. One aspect is filling out the Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order. Knowing why this form must be filled out and what to do with it after it is completed is a fundamental part of a case. The form provides a roadmap of the issues that must be settled when agreeing to a child support amount.
In the agreement, it is noted that the parties are required to keep one another informed of changes to their situation, including income, employment and address. Both parents are required to sign the Stipulation. Both parties agree that they are doing so on a voluntary basis. The calculation of child support must be attached, especially if the amount does not fall directly within the state guidelines. When a child support agency is involved in the case, it too must sign the Stipulation.
The court must receive the Stipulation and the judge must sign it. After it has been signed by the judge, it must be filed with the court clerk. Other aspects, such as wage garnishment and a national registry to oversee child support enforcement, must also be addressed with this process.
While it can be beneficial to come to an agreement for child support and to do so without court intervention, the court must still be involved, and the state must have the Stipulation on file. For assistance negotiating an agreement and following all the rules regarding an agreement, it is wise to have help from a family law attorney.