Whether child support is established by the court or an agreement of the parties incorporated into a court order, there are a number of common misconceptions about child support which generate frequent litigation.
- Oral Modification: A child support order cannot be orally modified by the parties. For example, if the recipient of child support orally agrees for the payor parent to reduce his or her support obligation for any reason – including the loss of employment — that agreement is not enforceable and the payor parent will owe the full amount of the court ordered support for the period of time during which he or she reduced the support payments.
- Written Modification: A child support order cannot be modified by the parties through a written agreement, unless that written agreement subsequently gets incorporated into a court order.
- Non-conforming Payments: The payor of child support does not get credit against his or her support obligation for non-conforming support payments. That is, the payor of support cannot satisfy his or her support obligation by making direct payments to third parties on behalf of the child and/or recipient parent.
- Emancipation: When parties have multiple children and the oldest child emancipates, the payor parent is not permitted to reduce his or her child support payment without seeking court approval. The payor parent should pursue a Motion to Amend support to have child support recalculated based on the parties’ current circumstances. Moreover, even if the recipient parent agrees for the payor parent to reduce his or her support obligation, that agreement is not enforceable without court approval.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. To receive legal advice concerning your particular situation, please contact Locke & Quinn. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this article without seeking the appropriate legal advice.