7 Tips for Negotiating Child Support in Divorce
1. Be up front about your income and expenses.
Provide verification of your income, including your last 6 months’ of wage stubs and your last 2 years’ of tax returns at the outset of your case. Also, provide verification of your monthly living expenses so that everyone is on the same page about what is reasonable in your case.
2. Build in automatic reviews/adjustments of the child support obligation.
Agree to exchange your income information such as taxes and wage stubs on a yearly basis and then review whether child support needs to be adjusted. This can save money in legal fees if you can decide whether it is beneficial to seek an adjustment or modification of the support prior to starting a new court action.
3. Consider other child expenses such as extracurricular activities and education.
If your child participated in sports during the relationship, it is likely that he or she will continue doing so. Make sure that you discuss payment for these types of activities and make it clear who will be responsible for contribution and the amounts to be contributed.
4. Document expenses for your child with receipts and cancelled checks or bank statements.
When discussing child support and specifically extracurricular and education expenses, be prepared to approve the expenses. If you can verify your expenses over the past year, it may be easier to negotiate the contributions that each parent should make toward these expenses than to simply say that each parent should contribute “half” without actually knowing how much “half” will be.
5. The court is unlikely to deviate from the standard calculation just because you and the other parent agree.
Make sure to be specific and set forth the reasons why a deviation from standard child support calculation should be granted. One key factor that the court will consider is whether a deviation will detrimentally affect the receiving parent’s household.
6. Don’t talk to your children about the status of child support payments from the other parent.
In general, it is a bad idea to discuss any of the legal issues of your case with your child. The court frowns on this involvement. While it may be frustrating that the other parent is not paying child support, don’t let your child become involved in the conflict.
7. Remember that child support is meant for the children and not for the other parent.
A parent may become upset over the idea of having to pay money to the other parent after the relationship is over. It is always good to remember that the money you are paying is meant to support your children in your absence, which is something that you should feel good about doing. In the same respect, if you are the parent receiving support, you should remember that the payments are to be for the benefit of the children, so funding a new wardrobe for yourself with child support payments will probably cause conflict between you and the other parent.
If you have questions about child support, consider speaking to an attorney. McKinley Irvin family law attorneys in Washington and Oregon can answer your questions and provide advice on what the appropriate child support obligations are in your case. Contact us with your questions.
- Child Custody