Years ago, my ex-wife and I agreed that each month I would pay $200 less in child support to her and would use those funds to buy gifts for my kids directly and pay for my visits to see them from out of state. The court order still shows the full amount. Could a California judge consider the costs of flying to see them 3 times a year as a justification to allow us to formally modify our child support order to an amount that is less than guideline support? I live in Texas now and my kids and court order are all in Sacramento.
Yes, you can agree to less than guideline support. When you draft your stipulation, include the fact that all prior support has been paid, in cash or in kind.
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You and you ex have the right to make your own agreements. But you should put it is writing and both of you sign it to protect yourself.
A written agreement of the parties can be submitted to the Court and it will become the Court order. Howver, if the party receiving support changes their mind, the Court will modify the agreement to reflect curent guideline support, which could take travel expenses into consideration.
The short answer is yes you and your ex can negotiate a non-guideline support amount. If you made the arrangement years ago but never officially modified the court order you may have an issue with arrearages. It sounds like your ex and you work together well so I suggest you hire a competent attorney to draft a stipulated order for you that officially modifies the ongoing support order as well as deals with the possible arrears issue making sure the order contains language satisfying the "Sabine" case. The attorney should also advise you about the pitfalls of agreeing to a non-guideline order, as there are a few.
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