Can Parents Agree To Waive California Child Support?
Can parents agree to waive California child support? That is the questions we are going to answer in this article.
I wanted to title this article, “How Parties Can Agree To Waive Child Support” or “How To Avoid Paying Child Support in California”, but didn’t want to send the wrong message.
I am going to show you how we effectively obtain ZERO child support orders for our amicable divorce clients in California.
I will be quoting some writings from attorneys as examples and perhaps a family code section here or there, but I want to make clear that this is not legal advice and I am not interpreting the law.
What I am going to do is explain to you how for the last 10 years we have gotten our amicable divorce clients a child support order as that shows NO child support on their divorce judgment in California.
You Can’t Waive Child Support In California
I want to start off by saying that it is clear you can’t waive child support. This can be learned by the many attorney written blog posts and the family code sections they cite such as California Family Code 4001.
Again, I only bring up the code section so we can see what it talks about in regards to child support.
Lets break it down.
Section 4001 says;
In any proceeding where there is at issue the support of a minor child or a child for whom support is authorized under Section 3901 or 3910, the court may order either or both parents to pay an amount necessary for the support of the child
In Any Proceeding For Child Support
So the first word that stands out to me is the word, “proceeding“.
Yes, even an amicable divorce is a proceeding. But I think what they are discussing here is a court proceeding.
As in one party requested a hearing on the issue of child support asking the court to make an order.
When you have an amicable case you don’t go to court.
So technically there is no official request for child support nor a proceeding on the issue of child support.
Any Issue Of Support For Minor Child
The second word that stand out is “Issue”
There are common definitions and then there are legal definitions where a word can mean different things. In the legal sense, Cornell Law School defines “Issue” as, “In general, any point in dispute between different parties”
So let me ask you this – If you and your spouse agree that there will be no child support, then it would not appear to be an issue as there is no dispute regarding child support, right?
So now we’ve discussed that in an amicable divorce case there is no proceeding and there is no issue regarding child support.
So far I think we are in the clear.
Defining the word “waive” child support
It seems everyone is focused on this word, “WAIVE”
We know you can’t WAIVE child support, so how are we getting our clients child support orders that say ZERO when the child support calculator says there should be child support?
Below is a quote from a blog post from the Law Firm of Furman & Zavatsky (just to give credit where credit is due)
The fact is, however, that in the State of California neither parent can waive his or her responsibility to pay child support because child support is considered to be the child’s right and to be in his or her best interest. Put simply, foregoing child support does not serve children’s best interests
Okay, again it has been made clear that you can’t waive child support.
So the only thing that makes sense if we are having our clients have child support orders that show ZERO, that they are not effectively waiving child support.
So what is going on here.
And again, I am not talking about the law or offering an opinion. My goal is to explain this in a procedural fashion as opposed to a legal one.
See, my amicable clients don’t care about the how or why – they just don’t want an official child support order as part of their divorce settlement agreements in many cases.
Waive His Or Her Responsibility To Pay Child Support
Did you catch that nuance? It just didn’t say waive child support. It said waive his or her RESPONSIBILITY to pay child support.
Our clients are not saying they don’t want to be responsible for child support. They are not saying they are not going to pay child support. They are not saying they are not going to contribute to their minor child or children.
All they are saying is they don’t want an official court order for child support as part of their overall California divorce judgment.
How Then Do We Get Our Clients Judgments With No Child Support?
Okay, let’s recap quickly.
When you are amicable and agree to no child support;
- There is no proceeding or hearing on child support
- There is no issue
- You are not waiving child support
- You are not waiving your responsibility to contribute
I think what you are doing is saying you are adults and are responsible and don’t need an official child support order in order for you both to take care of your children financially despite going through a divorce.
The Needs Of The Children Will Be Adequately Meet
When we complete the California divorce judgment and attach a child support order, this is the language that is used in the non-guideline child support findings attachment.
So there you have it.
While you can’t waive child support, you and your spouse can agree to a non-guideline amount of child support, including zero child support, if the needs of the children will be adequately met.
What does this mean?
That you and your spouse will continue to be financially responsible for them, despite an official court order for child support.
Let us help you
Do you have an amicable divorce case in California? Let us assist you with handling your divorce case anywhere and for any court in California.