8 Tips for Negotiating Child Support in a Divorce Agreement

When a couple separates, whether married or unmarried, there are often significant decisions to be made regarding the future. When children are involved, those choices must be carefully considered. Working with the court can help determine child custody, visitation, and support; however, all of these matters can be altered according to the needs of the child and their parents. Child support payments, on the other hand, usually change only when one parent has a significant change in income or circumstances, so it is important to get it right during the divorce process.

How can I negotiate child support payments?

The court uses a system to determine the amount of child support each parent must pay. This does not mean that the court-ordered amount is the option that must be taken. There are ways to negotiate a child support settlement between parents. Keep in mind that while child support can be altered, it is another legal process that requires the approval of the court. That is why it is crucial that you prepare to effectively negotiate with the other parent regarding payment options.

When negotiating child support, follow this advice:

  1. Be truthful about income and expenses by providing appropriate paperwork
  2. Consider other costs that are extraneous to living expenses, such as participation in extracurricular activities
  3. Provide and ask for proof of any income claims
  4. Take a moment to consider the concerns of the other parent about the payments
  5. Remember that this money is not a financial payout to the other parent but participation in the regular living expenses of the child
  6. Keep children out of the negotiations and payments
  7. Make an annual review of the child’s expenses and speak with the other parent about making changes every two years
  8. Explain why the adjustments being made are in the child’s best interests over the standard calculation determined by the courts

Child support payments may be a source of contention between parents, but it is always important to remember that the money is used to benefit the child, not either parent. Just as if the child was being raised by both the parents, there must be equal contributions to their needs and well-being.

Concerned about negotiating a child support agreement? Wondering what to expect from these negotiations? Working with an Oregon family law attorney a McKinley Irvin can help address these questions -- call our offices to arrange a consultation.