Modifying Support With An Out-Of-Court Agreement

out-of-court agreementQuestion:

Recently, I received a divorce decree stating I am required to pay child support even though my ex-wife makes substantially more than me and we share custody of our children.

She has signed and notarized a document stating she does not intend to collect the child support payment. Will this document be valid in court and prevent me from owing back child support in the future?


Diana Bishara attorney New Jersey
New Jersey divorce lawyer Diana Bishara

While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on the issue.

No matter how well-intended; no matter how carefully crafted; no matter how many times notarized; it boils down to just this: Out-of-court agreements which purport to modify existing child support/custody orders generally aren’t enforceable.

You must obtain the court’s “blessing,” in the form of an order, before any such agreement is valid and enforceable. The parties aren’t free to work out a “side-deal,” or some other out-of-court “understanding,” that departs from the existing court order.

Side-deals are generally unenforceable, may subject you to contempt, and can create serious problems for you down the road. As such, I would recommend that you enter into a consent order but file it with the court.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including New Jersey divorce lawyer Diana Bishara, 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,, and, 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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