Even when parents separate, child support remains to be a constant obligation that parents need to fulfill. In post-separation proceedings, the court basically upholds the principle of shared parental responsibility by which both parents are entitled to spend equal time with child.
Parallel to the best interest of the child, both parents are also required by law to come into a child support agreement wherein both parents can agree on how they would pay for the child support.
There are two types of child support agreement that can be used as alternatives to a child support formula assessment. In coming into an agreement parents can discuss and settle the amount of the child support to be paid, the form, and the manner of transferring the child support.
The first type of child support agreement known as binding agreement is a written agreement made after each parents have received legal advice from a family lawyer. In order for an agreement to be binding, the advising lawyer must also sign a certificate which will be attached to the documents. The binding agreement may include a lump sum of money or electronic payments, which may be paid by the liable party on a regular basis.
The other type of child support agreement known as limited child support must also be in a written form. Unlike the latter, it does not require parents to have an independent legal advice. It may be enough that it is based on a child support assessment and that the annual support payable as reflected in the agreement is equal or more than what has been assessed.
In case the agreement was attained by coercion or if it is proven that one of the party is only threatened to sign the agreement, the court can have the discretion to render the agreement as void or ineffective. Other factors like income and tax returns of both parents can also affect the outcome of child support. If one parent is earning higher than the other, he or she is responsible in providing a greater share for the child support. Lodging the tax return late may change the child support assessment of the previous years for the parents.
Individuals who are in-charge of the legal care or guardianship of the child, even when not related by blood can also apply for child support through the Child Support Agency.
Parenting proceedings involving child support can be hard and deceiving. For separating couples who have procreated children including legal guardians, it is highly recommended to first seek a legal advice before entering into any type of child support agreement to be accordingly guided through the process.