Yes, parents can stipulate their own agreement regarding child support, but it must be approved by the court. In order for the court to consider reviewing the agreement, it must meet the following guidelines:
- There must already be an open court case between the parents.
- The agreement must contain the following information:
- Each parent is fully aware of his/her child support rights.
- Each parent is aware of what the guideline child support amount would be.
- Neither parent is feeling pressured or forced to agree on the stated amount.
- Neither parent is receiving public assistance or has applied for public assistance.
- Both parents think that the agreed upon amount is in the best interest of the child.
After you have reached an agreement with the other parent and have created a stipulation consistent with these guidelines, you will both need to sign the document. If you do not have attorneys, your signatures will need to be notarized. You can then submit the stipulation for the court’s review. If you have a court date scheduled, you can bring the stipulation with you to the hearing for the judge’s review and signature, or you can go to the courthouse and ask to speak with a family law clerk to get it approved and signed. After you have received the judge’s signature, you’ll need to file the original with the court clerk, and serve a file-stamped copy of the order on the other parent (or their attorney, if they have one.)