Generally speaking, divorces are much like business deals. Many components are subject to negotiation, including child support. In our experience, we find that divorcing parties enjoy a number of benefits when an agreement can be reached on support, even if the final amount may be less than allowed by Virginia law. Indeed, agreeing to a lower amount isn’t likely (or required), but this post will identify a number of benefits to compromising on support obligations.
Certainty of payment - It may not seem that way, but on-custodial parents are more likely to pay what they can afford rather than fighting a support amount that exceeds their net income. Also, collecting from someone who is ordered to pay is much more difficult than receiving voluntary payments.
Control over the payment plan – For parents who are paid on non-traditional schedules (i.e. commission schedules, completion plans, tips), a support agreement can help keep payments on track even though one’s income may fluctuate. This also allows for quicker, simpler modifications to compensate for income spikes and drops.
Miscellaneous payments – A lower basic child support amount may allow for additional payments that may not be covered (as a matter of law) by such support, including sports camps, swimming lessons and school trips.
Longer duration of support – This may be helpful for parents who are supporting their children in college or trade schools. As a matter of law, parents are not required to support their kids after they reach the age of majority (age 18). As such, child support can help with the incidental costs that college age children incur.
If you have additional questions regarding child support negotiations, an experienced family law attorney can help.