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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
888-268-7997 / 214-385-4562

Determining child support out of court

There are three ways that a child support arrangement may come about in Texas. A family court may issue a child support order, the arrangement may come as a result of alternative dispute resolution proceedings or the parents may negotiate an agreement on their own. Informally-negotiated agreements will require court approval before they take effect.

The parents may negotiate an agreement if they can resolve between themselves the amount, frequency and duration of child support payments. The parties may choose to have their respective attorneys present during negotiations or to have their attorneys negotiate on their behalf. Some attempt to negotiate on their own and then bring it to their attorneys for their review once an agreement has been reached. Ideally, the negotiation process will result in a written agreement which can then be presented to the court having jurisdiction for its approval.

Depending on the areas and degree of disagreement between the parents, alternative dispute resolution may be useful in reaching a child support arrangement. Mediation and collaborative family law are among the most popular types of ADR. They are non-judicial processes, but they include certain formalities. The parents, though, generally have more decision-making power in ADR proceedings than they would have if a judge was making the decision.

Whether parents should attempt to negotiate an agreement on their own is a heavily fact-dependent question. Those who are interested in the options available for reaching a child support agreement may want to consult with an attorney for advice. A family law attorney can provide assistance to a client during informal negotiations between the parents or during the ADR process. If necessary, an attorney may also bring an action for child support enforcement against a delinquent parent.

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