Agreement to Waive Child Support - Is it Possible and When? by Cassandra Hearn

At the conclusion of nearly every case involving child custody, there will also be an order concerning child support.  Child support is based on a very specific set of factors and will be determined by the court using a statewide guideline calculator.  More and more parents are turning to alternative dispute resolution and other methods to settle their child visitation, custody, and support issues out of court.  This benefits the entire family, as it allows the parents to craft a parenting schedule specifically tailored to the needs of the family and of the child.  Parents are uniquely situated to create such a schedule, as they are much better acquainted with their family’s needs than a judge could ever be.  On some occasions, parents will want to make an agreement that waives child support.


In most cases, an agreement to waive child support will not be looked upon favorably by a court, and will require that the parties identify and state an exception to the law in order to set an order below what would otherwise be guideline support.  California law provides that parties may not strip a court of the ability to oversee child support issues.  Although child support is paid to the custodial parent, child support is a debt that the other parent owes for the benefit of the child.  Accordingly, it is against public policy for a parent to be able to waive the ability to receive funds that would benefit the child. This rings especially true in cases where parents form an agreement that includes waiving support in return for reduced child visitation.


There are some situations in which a court may allow parties to agree to forego child support.  In cases where the child support calculation produces a minimal or nominal amount of child support, the court may allow the parties to waive support.  This amount typically must be approximately $30 or less before a court will agree to allow the parties to waive the amount (but not where the supported parent is receiving public aid).  The court may also approve such an agreement if the parties share substantially equal time with the child and all of the child’s needs are completely met even without child support.


We have extensive experience with helping our clients with crafting settlement agreements that are best for the family. Call us today at 619-800-0384 for a consultation and we can discuss child support and your case.