Ways of reaching a child support agreement

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, August 19, 2016.

Illinois parents who are divorcing have several options when it comes to child support arrangements. Parents can negotiate an agreement between themselves and their attorneys, they can use alternative dispute resolution methods, or the court may enter an order for child support in accordance with state guidelines.

The duration, frequency and amount of payments must all be negotiated. This can be done through the couple’s respective attorneys, or the parents can have their attorneys review the agreement they make before it is finalized. If parents are not able to negotiate between themselves or with the assistance of their attorneys, then they might turn to an alternative dispute resolution method. Arbitration is not very common in divorce cases, but mediation or a collaborative family law approach are both options. If an arbitrator is used, thefinal decision is not necessarily binding. Alternative dispute resolution methods allow parents who are in conflict to still play an active part in making a decision about child support.

However formal or informal the agreements are, they then need to be written down. As a final step, a judge might review the document and ask the parents a few questions. Generally, at this stage, the judge is reviewing the agreement to ensure that it is in line with state guidelines. A legally binding agreement means that it is less difficult to enforce if one parent does not adhere to its terms.

The same methods above can also be used to negotiate child custody and visitation. According to many studies, children adjust better in low-conflict divorces. Skills learned in mediation or from other types of dispute resolution may help parents later as they negotiate issues around raising their children together after the divorce. In some cases, parents may not be able to reach a final agreement regarding custody and support, but their negotiations might bring them closer to an agreement on some issues prior to turning to litigation.

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