Child Support Agreement Without a Court Order: Is It a Good Idea?

23 May 2017
 Categories: Law, Articles

If your child's other parent refuses to make child support payments through family court, you may decide to enter a verbal agreement with them instead. Although verbal agreements can work for some parents, they may not always be in the best interests for them or the children involved. Unlike court-ordered child support, a parent may break a verbal agreement without legal repercussions. Here's why you should reconsider making a child support agreement without a court order.

What Could Happen If You Make a Verbal Agreement?

Both you and your ex are responsible for the financial care of your child. This responsibility increases as your child becomes older. If the financial burden falls solely on you, your child might not receive the things they need to live a comfortable and safe life now and in the future. 

A family court child support order legally binds the noncustodial parent to the care of your child. If the other parent breaks or ignores the order, family court can use many methods to obtain the payments for your child, including garnishing the parent's wages and intercepting their income taxes. However, a verbal agreement made outside of court may not be legally binding. The agreement only relies on the other parent's word to help you pay for your child's living expenses.

In addition, the other parent can say that they never made an agreement with you. The other parent may also say that they do make payments, but you spend it on things that don't pertain to your child's needs. You may not have the ability to back up your claims or disprove the ex's accusations, especially if the other parent pays with cash instead of money orders or checks. Although it can be a hassle, you may be able to track down when and where someone makes or cashes a money order or check.

Instead of making a verbal agreement, take legal action to protect your child's right to child support.

What Can You Do Instead?

One of the most important steps you can take is to file for child support through family court. Depending on your state's laws, you may be able to complete the forms in person, by mail, or online. If you find it difficult to file yourself, have a family law attorney do it for you. 

An attorney can help you:

  • Establish paternity or maternity if the other parent denies your child
  • Locate the other parent if they move to another city or state
  • Reinforce your child support order

Sometimes it becomes necessary to do the things above during child support cases. Having an attorney working with and for you may make the process simpler and less stressful on you and your child. 

It's important to understand that the getting your child's support won't happen immediately. It may take some time to establish and reinforce the order. If your child's other parent approaches you to about the court order, consult with your attorney right away. Never make any agreements or changes without the advice of a legal professional, even if the other parent promises to pay.

Finally, keep track of your child's monthly needs and expenses. It's important to show family court how much care your child needs in order to set a fair child support order. Your income may not be enough to cover your child's living expenses without sufficient support from the other parent. An attorney can discuss this matter with you further when you meet with them.

If you have concerns or questions about your child's child support needs, contact a family law attorney for assistance today.