If my spouse and I are in agreement, can we set the child support amount?
Or will the courts automatically award the child support amount based upon the state guideline?
While the parties may stipulate to child support arrangements other than state guidelines, the court must approve the arrangement to assure that the child is properly provided for by both parents. Any arrangement approved by the court is still subject to later reviews as provided by the laws of the applicable jurisdiction, such that either party may seek revision of the agreement to provide child support per state guidelines or some other amount in the future. Therefore, any concessions or trade-offs in exchange for an agreement on a specific child support amount should be made with the understanding that the child support amount agreement is not "permanent."
Parties who agree to their own support arrangements, or forgiveness of past due amounts, without court approval may be subject to court imposed figures, possibly with retroactive effect, at a later date regardless of the agreement depending upon the applicable laws. Failure to obtain court approval of a carefully drafted order setting forth the agreement puts you at risk of being held liable for what could have been imposed. A qualified domestic relations attorney can review your situation and advise as to the potential impact of your proposed agreement.
Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.
Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues.