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Can the custodial parent waive child support?

Los Angeles, CA |

My ex and I reconciled briefly for a year in 2010. He had me sign a regular sheet of paper stating that I was waiving child support because we were in a relationship. Is this considered a legal document even though it was never filed in court? Also he made me waive spousal support in our divorce agreement by intimidating me. Is there anything I can do about that? He was abusive throughout our relationship and that's why I left him.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. A custodial parent can agree to set child support at zero.
    However, if there is a court order in place, re child support, the paper waiving support will not change the Court order, and the money is still owed.
    A person can waive spousal support. You do not indicate if spousal support was wavied in a Final Judgment. If Spousal support was wavied in a final judgment, it can be difficult to change the Judgment. Further, if you are going to attempt t change the final judgment, you have only a small window of time to do so.
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  2. It's difficult to say whether it is a legal document without actually seeing what it is you are talking about. That being said, assuming it is a valid document, if your circumstances have changed, since entry of judgment, you can file a request for order modifying your current orders regarding support of the minor child. You signed the document waiving support at a time when you and the other parent were in a relationship and co-supporting the child. Now that that relationship is over, if you cannot afford to support the child on your own, you can and should seek an order from the court for support.

    Likewise, even if you previously waived spousal support, depending on the terms of that waiver (i.e. whether it is a legally binding document and whether you agreed to waive permanently), you may also have grounds for a modification of that order (if the court retained jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support). Lots of "ifs" here. To better respond to your questions you should have the judgment and papers you signed looked at by an attorney.

  3. Let me start by saying that my previous comrades have given you a detailed analysis of what to expect of your situation: that is, seek an attorney to review your documents and determine what "legal document" it is you are holding, and what modification you should seek. Since 2010, I speculate that both your income and father's income may have changed, entitling you to modify your child support payment.

    As to spousal support, I refer to Tobie's response. However, there is that small window period to set-aside a Judgment if that is what you are holding.

    Should this response be helpful, please mark "I agree" to support our firm.

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