“Let’s Do This Instead of Child Support”

I’m seeing an epidemic in my practice now of parents designing their own arrangement to avoid the need for child support. Many of their custom-designed plans work smoothly, but many of them disentegrate later. Are you sure it’s a good idea to give up child support?

Read about the disadvantages of plans in lieu of child support.

17 comments

  1. Alan Rusmisel says:

    4 reasons to avoid court ordered child support as long as Alabama uses the present form of the “Income Shares Model”.

    1. The “model is based on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would “theoretically” receive if the parents lived together. It is designed to theoretically replicate total income in an intact household”.

    2. No consideration is provided for the reality of additional expenses that occurs in an involved second parent’s household, which is necessitated by the simple and obvious fact that the parents no longer live together. Only one household matters.

    3. Health insurance, child care, and extraordinary medical expenses are typically added on to the obligation after basic amount is calculated.

    4. The one parent with sole or primary custody, receives the child support payment, and it is “presumed” that the money is spent directly on the child. NO ACCOUNTABILITY, Something that occurs in virtually all other financial “trust” situations which child support certainly is, is required of the receiving parent. The full weight of local, state and federal law however, ensures the accountability of the obligor to pay the obligee.

  2. Cathy D says:

    Oh I recognize this! I have tried this with my ex and it doesn’t work.

    Do you know if VA disability benefits can be used in figuring child support?

  3. John says:

    What nonsense. It is in the best interest of the child that the parents work together and maintain an amicable relationship. Guideline support is always an option if the arrangement dosn’t work out.

  4. In my divorce practice in Virginia, I often see people try this sort of thing– and inevitably it doesn’t work out, and they end up going to guidelines child support.

  5. regina says:

    O.k. I and My ex thought our divorce was final and today we find pout that the lawyer says that the judge refused to sign due to child support guidelines. O.k we both agreed on divorce and we
    both agreed on joint custody and also we neither ask for child support the kids live with him and go to school and when I have money I send to the kids for whatever they need. We both agree on this and so why is the judge refusing to sign the papers?

  6. Lee Borden says:

    Remember, the judge has jurisdiction and portfolio to protect the interests of the children. Some judges are quite protective of the child support guidelines, and from the judge’s perspective, it’s the easiest way to make sure the children have the financial support they need. If your judge is one of these, and this appears to be the case, the simplest solution by far is to just conform. Doing anything else will cost a great deal in lawyer time and yours and Dad’s time and may not change the judge’s mind at all.

  7. J. Floyd says:

    The system needs to stop involving itself in matters of money between two parents. Only the parents themselves truly know what their childs needs are. No court should ‘EVER’ have the right to make that decision ever. If the courts truly care about the childs well being than their concern should be as to whether the parents are spending quality time with the child. Only then will matters of ‘Costs’ truly be resolved between the parents. Currently the single most reason why most non-custodial parents refuse to pay is because the system is grossly unfair towards men and very, very few women. I’m sure everyone who reads this knows of someone who has been treated unfairly by the current child support system. For anyone to agree that that’s just the way it is…is both ignorant and foolish.

    You currently get better treatment from the IRS than with any child support agency and that is a disgrace to every individual in this nation and is a horrible role model for any other nation in this world.

    The current system does not work, reason: Only about 40-45% of all cases acutally ever receive payments. And of those most receive either partial or no payment at all. So essentially the actual figures are much lower than any Govt. agency wants you to believe. Reason: they are profiting off from any money that is collected, which is one thing they will never admit. How else would you expect for these programs to be paid for? They also stat pad the results of surveys, polls and stas.

    Threatening someone to pay or else only drives a wedge (wedge being the kids) further between the parents and kid/s. The response is parents will refuse to pay because the system treats them like animals as opposed to being treated humainly. Bottomline is that most if not all non-custodial parents would have no problem paying as long as they knew/felt the system would not automatically takes sides with the primary custodial parent but rather put them in a position where they can come to a senseable agreement to how much each parent should spend time with their kid/s. This way their is no exchange of money since both are providing to costs while they spend time with their kid/s.

    I myself come from a family that received no support whatsoever and I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters. All of my sisters/brothers have grown up to be very respectable citizens and are happily married with kids. We also believe the current system just falls flat on it’s face with stats, surveys and polls to prove it. The system we should be following is that of Japan. A country with approx. 180+ million and yet has one of the lowest crimerates and poverty levels in the world. And, guess what? The courts refuse to involve themselves in ‘Child support matters’. Why?, several reasons:

    1. It goes against the very root of their culture of ‘Family closeness’

    2. It is not the responsibilty of the courts to decide what is best for the parents kid/s. Only the parents truly know what is right for their kid/s with regards to money matters. Reason, all families needs are different. Something the japanese courts feel is more hurtfull than helpfull by involving the courts.

    3. It furthers the differences between the decisions which both the father and mother must make. And as a result the kids and parents suffer. Remember, A complete family is a happy family. Complete, meaning all parties are involved without 3rd party involvement pointing fingers.

    4. Their system provides social programs for families who need assistance. Much like ours except they don’t mislead the public into believing that, “Well this isn’t right, it burdens the taxpayers”. No it doesn’t otherwise the programs wouldn’t have been put in place to begin with. These programs are already taxpayer funded, it’s foolish to think that more money is needed when everyday we and more people who join the tax force continue to pay with tax increases at times.

    5.Countries such as ours and other european countries have shown through studies, stats, surveys etc…that the current sytem simply makes matters worse and shows no signs of improvement. There is no ‘Proof’ or smoking gun that shows that a child receiving support is better off than one that is not. The vast majority of non-custodial parents that are under order to pay either make ‘Partial’ payments or no payments. Remember these systems have been in place for quite sometime now. Really shows the world they work?… Uh. That’s right, Partial or No payments.

    Unless the system is clearly fair and un-biased to ALL those involved including and mostly the parents, since they are the ones that will have to ‘Provide’ to the child. The system must not look at one as mearly ‘Money’ which is the way the system views non-custodial parents currently. The system has proved only one thing… that it currently does NOT work and deprives the child of the one true thing they need MOST…An actual physical working relationship with their mother and father, only then will money matters be resolved. Providing money, or ‘support’ which is what the courts call it…provides no interaction between either the parents or the kid/s involved. Most kids that have grown up would much rather of had time spent with the non-custodial parent as opposed to money. For the simple fact that ‘Money’ cannot replace the interaction that a father/mother can provide by just simply spending time with their kids. Let’s face it, non-custodial parents aren’t refusing to pay because they hate their kids. They are a bi-product of the unfair system for the way they are treated and nothing else. Remember how your going to react if someone disrespects you or treats you unfairly, I’ll bet it won’t be friendly.

  8. M.B. Long says:

    In my practice I also see folks decent intentions which are erroded by passage of time and insertion of new people into the mix. For example, husband and wife are divorcing, will agree to “share expenses” for the child in lieu of support. They do so. Sometimes for years. Then one or both remarries and a new spouse does not like the deal and suddenly, the other parent has a problem.

  9. D J Podhorn says:

    Amen!! J. Floyd…the divorce court process and all the baggage that goes with it is boldfaced legalized abuse. No more…no less. The system promotes lies, fabrication,
    manipulation and animosity. What is left of the family, in transition, is totally in tatters emotionally, economically and common sense. And, who then, walks to the bank with your hard earned money in their pockets…attorneys and the child support unit!!

  10. L. Croft says:

    My husband has a friend that pays $350.00 a month in child support, and he is worried that none of this is being spent on the needs of the children. One of my friends told me that when she recieved support for her son, it was put into a special account, and she had to keep all reciepts for the money spent or the support could be pulled. This was here in the state of Colorado. Do you know how he can set something like this up?

  11. Lee Borden says:

    Because I know nothing about CO, I can accept that CO has some kind of special rule about requiring an accounting for child support. If it does, however, it would be virtually alone among the states. No judge I know would have any interest in probing how a custodial parent is using the child support money; would you if you were a judge?

    If Dad thinks Mom is neglecting the children’s needs and that they should live with him instead, he should say so and ask the judge to change custody. If all he wants to do is complain that part of his child support money is buying beer and cigarettes for Mom’s no-good boyfriend, I strongly suggest that he put it behind him and move on.

  12. It is in the best interest of the child that the parents work together and maintain.If Dad thinks Mom is neglecting the children’s needs and that they should live with him instead, he should say so and ask the judge to change custody.What is left of the family, in transition, is totally in tatters emotionally, economically and common sense.

  13. I have definitely been seeing this trend grow in popularity over the last couple years. It all depends on what is best for the child. Both court ordered and privately arranged California child support can work, but often times the latter fails as time passes (as someone mentioned above). Everything will go fine but later, as the parents’ personal lives change more and more, child support in California fails. They become less and less trusting if the money is actually going towards the child, etc.

  14. David says:

    Its rare the the parents work together and achieve the results they wanted while making the custom pact. But if it does work the child is usually better off.

  15. Guideline support is guideline for a reason. Too many “deals” go south or get eroded over time. A regular recurring payment is quantifiable. It is way to hard to trace and enforce some of the creative solutions people come up with, and it usually involves the support recipient getting the short end of the stick.

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