Can My Ex Turn Down Child Support?

alimonyQuestion:

My wife and I are in the process of getting a divorce. She says she doesn’t want child support. It is my understanding that the court determines and assigns who pays child support and how much.

Can she turn down child support if it is awarded to her? If so, would she be able to appeal to start receiving child support at a later date? Is there a certain agreement or paperwork that needs to be filed in a case like this?

Answer:

Please be aware that I cannot give legal advice based on contact from the website and can only provide general tips regarding your situation.

I occasionally have clients who come in my office and state that child support is “no big deal” because the husband and wife agreed it isn’t necessary. Here it is what I tell those clients: Even if you and your wife agree to no child support (or even a downward deviation from the child support calculator), the court has complete discretion as to whether that agreement will be signed off in in the final order.

Omaha divorce attorney Nancy Shannon
Omaha divorce attorney Nancy Shannon

From a policy standpoint, child support is not a right that belongs to either parent. It belongs to the child, so a parent should not be able to waive the right to support.

Furthermore, the court wants to guard against one party using child support against the other in an effort to barter for some other term, so it will often just take the ability to pay with amount of the table.

Even if the order is entered as you two agree, I don’t know of any state that would prohibit a party from coming back later and trying to allege that circumstances have changed, and child support should now be ordered.

My general advice is to simply use the child support calculator that was created by the state, and find other places within the divorce that you can compromise on.

Family law is based on statutes that are state specific. I am licensed to practice in Nebraska and am not able to give specific and detailed legal advice regarding your situation. You need to contact an attorney licensed in your state who specializes in domestic litigation.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Nebraska divorce lawyer Nancy Shannon, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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