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Can parents in Rhode Island negotiate a child support agreement?

Parents in Rhode Island who are getting a divorce may be under the assumption that the only way child support will be determined is through a child support order following a court hearing in front of a judge. What they may not know, however, is that, with attorney representation, they may be able to come to a child support agreement through negotiations. Keep in mind, however, that even if a child support agreement is made out-of-court, most states require that the agreement be approved by the court to confirm that it is in compliance with that state's child support guidelines.

Sometimes, despite getting a divorce, parents can still work together to resolve their divorce legal issues. When it comes to child support, this means determining how much will be paid, how often and for how long. It can help for each parent to be represented by his or her own attorney during negotiations. Attorneys can assist with the negotiation process and can provide legal advice to their clients. The goal of such negotiations is to reach a written settlement agreement.

This agreement would then be presented to the court for final approval. There may be a court hearing, to ensure that each parent understands what they have agreed to. If the court believes the negotiations were fair and the child support agreement is in line with state guidelines, it may be approved and made legally binding.

Coming to a child support agreement out-of-court may be preferable to parents who want to avoid adversarial proceedings. However, such agreements must still account for the child's everyday expenses and must be in compliance with Rhode Island guidelines on child support. For this reason, it may help to have each party seek help from an experienced attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support by Agreement," Accessed Nov. 14, 2016

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