Can we Specify Child Support Amounts in our Divorce Settlement?

Child support is often a hotly debated topic in a divorce, but not nearly as much as the amount for alimony.  Whoever has residential custody of the children will be the one receiving the support and it seems this person always wants more, while the person paying wants to pay less.

In some cases, this may be true.  Often, the person who is paying wants to be sure that the money they are paying is actually being used to support the children and not to buy a new wardrobe for their ex.  When it appears the money is being misused, the desire to pay less becomes even stronger.  Some people even go back to court to try and reduce their child support payments, but unless circumstances have drastically changed, it is extremely difficult to modify payment amounts.

If you and your spouse are designing your own divorce settlement in an amicable divorce, you can set an amount for child support.  Be aware, though, that when the court looks at your settlement, those numbers will be carefully scrutinized to be sure it is fair to both parties.  In some cases, such as where a special needs child is concerned, a larger amount may be awarded to help cover those extra expenses.


Do not believe that you can write in any amount you want and that will be accepted by the judge.  If your amounts seem unusual, the judge will ask for the reasons that helped you decide on them.  Be ready to explain why you, if you are the residential parent, need that much money to care for the children.  Or, if you are the non-residential parent, you may need to explain why you are willing to pay so much.

Filing an amicable divorce is a great way to save money and get a quick divorce.  Working together on your settlement will be difficult and you shouldn’t rush through it just to get it over with.  Consider the amount of child support carefully before you sign the agreement and be ready to explain your reasons, if asked.

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