Do child support laws recognize informal agreements? My ex-wife and I agreed to a child support amount that was different then the court-ordered amount, and I pay support directly to her.
Now she is disputing the child support amount we agreed to and recently had my wages garnished for the full amount.
Can she do this?
In Missouri (where I am licensed to practice law), unless your previous court-ordered child support amount is modified by the court or child support enforcement, then your obligation to continue to pay the amount that was originally ordered remains.
Although it sounds like you and your ex-wife made an agreement on the side to lower the support amount, the agreement may not be recognized by the court. If you are behind in your support payments or there is an order for support, then your ex-wife has the right to file a wage withholding request.
If you feel the amount of past due support is incorrect, you must appeal the wage withholding. There are strict timelines for appeal and it is in your best interest to contact child support enforcement to determine whether your time for appeal has past.
Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of your legal rights in your jurisdiction, I urge you to contact a family law attorney immediately.
To set up an appointment with Michelle Hughes, an Associate Attorney in the Jefferson County, Missouri office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.