Recently, I put in for a modification of child support. The non custodial parent will have to pay me more, however, I owe her arrears on a separate child support case (when I was the non custodial parent, for the same child) of over $30,000. I have offered to dismiss her child support obligation if she closes the arrears case. Can we come to our own agreement and what steps do we need to take to protect ourselves and to make it legal? She is concerned that even if we agree to this, once she closes her arrears, she can't reopen and has stated that I still have the right to go after her for child support. How can we set this up so she feels secure about this situation? Our child is 17 and will be graduating school after she's 18 years old.
Real Estate Attorney
You can structure the agreement so that the arrearage claim will only be released after your child reaches age 18 and graduates from high school. You will need a lawyer to draft this agreement to protect both of you.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
The simple answer is yes. Parties are free to agree to stipulate as to setting child support at whatever amount they find to be in their child's best interest. The only caveat is that if the Court believes it is not in the child's best interest it could refuse to accept the stipulation.
One option regarding an arrears case could be to agree to set whatever child support amount you want, i.e. $0 or something higher, close the DCSS case, and draft a stipulation and court order where arrears are paid down and future interest is waived so long as a monthly payment is made. Additionally, there could be a clause in the stipulation that if the payor does not timely pay the monthly payment, interest kicks back in and is retroactive to date of stipulation.