Do You Need a Formal Court Order for Child Support?
When it comes to divorcing couples, no two scenarios are exactly alike. Some couples go through incredibly contentious divorces that drag on for months as they bicker over every detail. Others can complete the process amicably by spending a short amount of time with a mediator.
However, every divorce is made somewhat more difficult when children are involved. If a couple shares children, they will have remain in each other’s lives, to a degree, at least until children reach adulthood. They will not only have to create a custody arrangement, but most likely agree to some form of ongoing child support.
Couples that remain amicable throughout the divorce process may see no need to formalize such arrangements. They may take the stance that both will do what is in the best interests of the children. However, situations can change. Even parents that enter into such informal arrangements with the best of intentions can flag or change their position down the road. Here are just a few reasons why a formal court order for child support is always wise.
Ensure Enforceable Payment
When parents divorce amicably with the aid of a mediator, they can save a lot of money over the cost of a protracted legal battle. You might be patting yourself on the back that you and your ex-spouse have been able to remain friendly throughout the difficult process of divorce and put the needs of your kids first.
Of course, it may not be as easy as you think to carry on in this manner. Suppose, for example, that your ex earns more money and you end up with primary care of the children. You might agree that $500 in support payments is fair as it will allow you and your children to continue living the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed, without unduly impacting your ex’s ability to enjoy a similarly comfortable lifestyle.
Then, suppose your ex is unable to make payments here and there. He/she might have financial difficulties or simply fail to pay. That’s money you’re counting on to pay bills, maintain your household, and support your children’s needs and without a formal court order for child support, you have no legal standing to enforce payment, leaving you in a potentially dicey financial situation.
Limit Arbitrary Adjustments
Working together, you and your ex-spouse may come to an agreement for child support that ensures neither parent is left with undue financial burden. However, the parent that has primary custody may decide down the line that the agreed support is not sufficient and demand more, leveraging time with the children to get it. Or the paying parent may decide the amount is too much and decide to pay less.
Having a formal court order for child support in place offers a legal pathway to seeking greater payments, or alternately, seeking reparations for payments not made. In truth, if you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement on child support, there’s no reason not to go ahead and create a formal court order for the protection of both parties, as well as children.
If you’re going through a divorce that involves children, contact the experts at The Gucciardo Law Firm at 248-723-5190 to help you secure a formal court order for child support.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.