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Can my ex and I make our own child support agreement?

It is often beneficial for the parties to a Florida divorce to work out their own settlements and agreements regarding the custodial and financial obligations that will keep them bound together even after their marriage ends. When the parties are able to find common ground without the help of a court they are more likely to find satisfaction with the terms they are bound to follow. To this end, Florida parents who elect to divorce or separate may create their own child support agreements.

There are some limitations, though, on how a parent-created child support agreement may be structured. For example, like any contract that parties create, the child support agreement cannot be unconscionable or significantly unfair to one of the parents. If there is evidence that one parent was coerced into signing the agreement then it may not be approved by the courts.

Additionally, child support agreements must work within the state guidelines for child support. While deviations from the guidelines may be appropriate in specific cases, parents generally must ensure that their agreements follow the rules set forth in the state's child support guidelines.

If a judge believes that the parents of a child engaged in a fair and reasonable negotiation regarding how they would share in the financial requirements of raising their child then the judge may approve the agreement and make it judicially enforceable. Once an agreement is approved it is binding on the parties and any deficiencies exhibited by the parents may be addressed through the enforcement provisions contained in their contract. Further questions regarding the execution of child support agreements should be directed to family law attorneys for case-specific guidance.

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