Some parents make their own agreements on how much child support should be paid — or even that no child support should be paid at all. They may even put this agreement into writing, but are such agreements enforceable?
Child support agreements might not be enforceable
Although parents can agree on child support payments on their own, these agreements generally are not enforceable unless approved by the court. Courts will likely not agree to any waiver of child support. This would go against commonwealth statutes that prohibit waivers of child support.
If parents agree upon a specific amount of child support, this agreement still must meet commonwealth requirements regarding child support, and the agreement must be in the best interests of the child.
Virginia courts utilize statutory guidelines to calculate child support. While deviations from these guidelines — including written agreements between the parents — are sometimes permitted, they still must be in the child’s best interests.
Virginia law puts the child’s needs first
Parents might privately agree on how much child support should be paid, but they cannot make any agreements that could cause the child to have a lesser quality of life.
Children deserve the care and support of both parents. Noncustodial parents contribute to the child’s care by paying child support. Thus, it is essential that an appropriate amount of support is paid.
Parents might agree on a higher amount than state guidelines would provide, or conversely, they might agree on a lower amount. Either way, courts generally will not approve these agreements unless the agreements provide adequate support and are in the best interests of the child.