Florida divorcing parents who have young children and who have concerns about paying or receiving child support should be aware that there are a few ways child support can be decided. Parents can opt to negotiate between themselves, use alternative dispute resolution methods or go through litigation. If the issue is resolved out of court, any agreement that is made will require the approval of the court to make sure that it is fair and is in compliance with state child support guidelines.
Parents can negotiate with one another informally and with or without legal representation. They have the option of allowing attorneys to engage in the negotiations on their behalf, or they can negotiate child support terms themselves and consult with their attorneys before making the agreement final. The desired result in every case should be a written agreement that can be submitted to the court for its approval.
Alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law or mediation can also be used. Whether or not ADR is effective depends on how much they disagree and how open they are to working together to resolve the conflicts. ADR methods are generally less combative than traditional court hearings and can result in an early settlement. Parents also have the opportunity to have a significant role in the child support decisions.
A child support attorney may advocate on behalf of a parent in child support disputes. The attorney may engage in litigation to obtain favorable terms regarding payment amounts and duration, or counsel might suggest a more informal approach if that seems to be a possibility.