Can California Parents Agree to Waive Child Support Payments?
Is it okay for an Orange County, California parent to waive child support? This question comes up regularly amongst divorced and divorcing parents. According to California Family Code, when the support of a minor child is at issue, the court has the power to order either one or both of the child’s parents to pay any amount necessary. (Family Code section. 4001.) A minor child is defined as a child under the age of 18 or a child over 18 who is unmarried, in high school full-time and not self-supporting. Child support obligations stay in place until the child completes the 12th grade or attains age 19, whichever happens first. (Family Code 3901(a)). Case Law (Marriage of Ayo (1987) 190 CA3d 442, 235) clarifies that the parties may not agree to “divest” the court of its jurisdiction to order child support.
When you consider the California Family Code and case law together, it is clear that parents are not allowed to make agreements to waive child support. If a parent does attempt to waive child support, and it is brought to the attention of the court, it may reflect poorly on the parent. Since acting on the “best interest of the child” is the legal standard, and the law is clear that both parents have a legal duty to support the child, the attempt to “waive” child support would not be seen as kindness or even a benign behavior. It could be seen as an example of a parent not acting in the best interest of the child.
Parents involved in custody issues are always free to make any agreement, but they should keep in mind that any agreement may be brought to the court’s attention. And the terms of any agreement could jeopardize the parent’s standing with the court for custody problems.
If you need help determining how to approach your child custody case or if you need to file for divorce in Orange County, California, please get in touch with one of the experienced divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.
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