Is it Possible for Both Parents to Opt Out of Child Support?
After a divorce or separation, especially a hostile or contentious one, any number of unforeseeable situations may arise which can be difficult to mediate and settle – even for the most experienced attorneys and judges. In cases that go to court, there will usually be points of contention which will require meditation, numerous motions, and contested actions; the need may even arise for the judge to impose conditions against the wishes of one party or both.
Sometimes, if the relationship is sufficiently hostile or if both parties agree that the non-custodial parent should not pay child support, the court may consider it. The most important factor in whether or not a judge will make a decision like this depends on the state where the case takes place and the disposition of the judge presiding over the case. The most important factor determining whether or not a judge will agree to allow both parents to opt out of child support would be the question of whether of not it is in the best interests of the child.
It may be difficult to imagine a situation where the non-custodial parent being relieved of providing child support would be in the interest of the child, but, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. It could be that the non-custodial parent is so destitute that paying child support would impose an undue hardship, and the custodial parent is able to provide a stable environment for the child. In such a case, a judge may decide that requiring child support payments would traumatize the child as it would almost certainly be an unbearable burden. Of course, different judges may adjudicate differently on the same case and this is just one possible example of a case where both parents may wish to waive child support.
The best way to know how a family court judge will rule is to speak with an attorney who has experience bringing cases before a given judge. Determinations made in family courts always hinge on the judge’s opinion of what’s best for the child. Learning about the case history of the judge you will be coming before is probably the best way to know whether or not child support payments are negotiable.