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Can Parents Make Arrangements to Waive Child Support?

Can Parents Make Arrangements to Waive Child Support?

Every divorce is different, and as such, it might make sense for you to want to waive your claim to child support. In certain cases, you might want to waive child support in exchange for the other parent waiving visitation rights or making another type of concession. However, under California law, neither parent can legally waive his or her responsibility to pay child support. California Family Code Section 4001 states, “In any proceeding where there is at issue the support of a minor child…the court may order either or both parents to pay an amount necessary for the support of the child.” A child’s right to receive parental support is inherent and cannot be waived by either party. Regardless of the parents’ relationship with one another (whether married, divorced, separated, or never married), as long as paternity has been established, both parents are on the hook for child support. Regardless of any arrangement—such as “trading” spousal support for child support—both parents still have a legal obligation to support the child. The issue of waiving child support payments came up in Marriage of Ayo (1987), which further established the parents’ obligation to pay child support. In this case, the court established that the legal obligation to pay child support is much more than a normal debt; it goes beyond a simple “good-faith” obligation to pay and therefore cannot be overruled by the individual parties. (If they could be overruled, that would mean that California law and the ruling of the courts could be thwarted by a simple provision in a contract, i.e. parenting plan.) An agreement to waive child support...
How can I communicate with my children when I don’t have custody?

How can I communicate with my children when I don’t have custody?

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you can do. However, that job can get even harder after a divorce. The divorce process is very stressful, and could possibly strain your relationships, including your relationship with your children. What’s more, child custody and visitation issues can impact your relationship with your child. It is inevitable that a divorce will affect the parent-child relationship in some way. The hardest part of maintaining a parent-child relationship after divorce is getting used to the new custody and visitation arrangements. After divorce, one parent who was living in the home with the child and interacting with them on a daily basis suddenly has to live in another location, and only see their children in-person for a few days every couple of weeks, or every other weekend. When they do not see a parent often, children sometimes lose the ability to freely communicate with the noncustodial parent. It is important to remember that this is not because the child loves the noncustodial parent less, and it is not because of something the parent did wrong. Feeling less connected to the noncustodial parent is a normal feeling for children of divorce, especially for younger children. It is a priority of noncustodial parents to make the transition between each parent’s homes as smooth and comfortable as possible for the child. In order to make your child feel comfortable, it is important that you do not interrogate your child about what is going on in the other parent’s home. If you try to have your child recite a play-by-play of their week, they will not feel at...
Child Support and Taxes

Child Support and Taxes

Child support payments are not tax-deductible by the paying parent. In addition, child support is tax-free , and neither the paying spouse or the spouse receiving payments owes taxes on it. It is important to know how support is characterized in your marital settlement agreement, because it can significantly impact your taxes. Below is important information regarding child support and taxes. In your divorce agreement, any payments must be clearly designated as ‘child support” in order to qualify as child support. Sometimes, child support is lumped in with spousal support as “family support.” If this is the case in your agreement, none of the payment will be considered as child support for tax purposes. This can affect your taxes because family support and alimony is taxable as income to the recipient. The party would be receiving alimony which is taxable to the paying party, regardless of what the money is used for. It is important to designate separate child support in your divorce agreement if you want to receive nontaxable child support. If a parent wants to claim the child as a dependent on their taxes, the parent must supply at least half of the child’s financial support during the tax year. When parents divorce or separate, only one parent can claim the child as a dependent. The IRS prevents divorced parents from both claiming the dependent exemption by cross-referencing the dependent’s Social Security numbers. If parents live apart for the last six months of the year, have a written divorce decree, maintenance agreement, or separation agreement, there is another ruler that applies to the dependent exemption. If the...
Will Unpaid Child Support Appear on my Credit Report?

Will Unpaid Child Support Appear on my Credit Report?

Credit reporting agencies are required by law to include information about overdue child support in your credit report. This information may or may not influence creditors or lenders. Unpaid child support, called child support arrears, remain on your credit report for up to seven years. An agency could make an exception to that rule if you make a deal with them. For instance, if you agree to pay some or all of your arrears, an agency may agree not to report negative information to the credit reporting agencies. Still, usually child support enforcement agencies will not eliminate all negative information, and will at least report that you were delinquent in the past. Most state Department of Social Services agencies monitor monthly child support payments. They may also monitor when the support is received by the parent receiving payments. When a parent has overdue payments, they are alerted by the Department and the parent is allowed an opportunity to contest the arrears. Social Services send credit reporting agencies monthly a list of parents who have over $1,000 in arrears. If the parent continues to miss payments or does not pay back the debt, that information will most likely be included on a credit report. Creditors will continue to receive these reports as long as the arrears are unpaid. Balances that are unpaid for 180 days will appear as collection accounts on a credit report. Once overdue child support payments appear in a credit report, banks and other creditors may limit or deny credit until debt is partially or completely paid off. If you pay back your arrears, but still owe...
Can Parents Make an Agreement to Waive Child Support?

Can Parents Make an Agreement to Waive Child Support?

In every state, parents are under the obligation to support their children. Parents may be under the impression that they have the power to determine how much and if child support is necessary; however, the state law and the courts have the final say in matters of child support. Parents cannot agree not to pay child support. To understand why parents cannot waive the duty to pay child support, t is necessary to know how and why the state creates child support arrangements. Whenever the support of a minor is of concern, the court can order either parent to pay any amount of child support while the child is a minor. Eliminating this support is not an option, because child support payments are actually the child’s right, not the parents. Every state calculates child support by determining what is in the best interests of the child. Because of this, parents cannot refuse to pay child support because it is not in the best interests of the child. According to the federal Child Support Enforcement Act, each state has guidelines that calculate the amount child support to be paid, which vary depending upon several concerns. In general, factors determining child support include: the needs of the child such as health insurance, education, child care, and other special needs the income and needs of the custodial parent the ability of the paying parent to pay child support the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation From there, the courts may determine child support depending on factors affecting the child’s best interests, such as: the age and sex of the...

Paternity and Child Support

Did you know that determining paternity, or “who is the father?” plays a key role in legal issues such as child support? What’s more, determining paternity may be more complicated than it seems- there are actually a variety of parenthood circumstances that determine whether a parent is required to pay child support or has the right to visitation or to seek custody. Sometimes, it is necessary to file a court suit to determine a child’s father, called a paternity action, establishment hearing, filiation hearing, or parentage action. A paternity action can be brought by either mother or father. Without a paternity action, there are different legal issues to consider with each set of circumstances. In some states, if paternity is assumed or agreed upon, it cannot be disputed. In Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s presumed father statute as “a rational method of protecting the integrity of the family against challenges based on the due process rights of the father and the child.” A presumed father is required to pay child support. A man is considered a presumed father if any of the following qualifications applies: The man was married to the child’s mother when the child was born or conceived. In some states, this does not apply if the couple has separated. The man attempted to marry the mother, and the child was conceived or born during the attempted marriage. This applies even if the marriage was never made valid. The man and mother married after the child was born, and the man agreed to either have his name...