Can you waive child support arrears in Florida, and can child support be waived if both parties agree? The general rule according to case law is that: “A child’s right to support may not be waived by a parent, see Strickland v. Strickland, 344 So. 2d 931 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977), nor may that right be contracted away”, see Finch v. Finch, 640 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994). Usually, family law courts believe that child support cannot be contracted away. Wilkes v. Wilkes, 768 So. 2d 1150 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000). Florida child support is intended to provide for the needs and necessities of minor children. The statutory guidelines describe in great detail the reasons for awarding child support in Florida and provide the numerical amount of support required based on the incomes of both parents. Other factors may apply such as daycare costs, health insurance, the number of overnights the parents spend with their children, etc. This brings us to whether child support arrears can be waived in Florida. Just because you have equal timesharing, does not mean child support is waived. Call 407-335-8113 to speak with Jacobs Law Firm about your child support case.
Can child support be waived if both parties agree? Both parties are welcome to agree to waive child support arrears in Florida, but there is no guarantee the child support hearing officer, or the circuit court family law judge will affirm. As you read above, and have likely researched, child support in Florida is intended to provide for a minor child to help them survive, flourish, not be relegated into poverty. The court is not beholden to consider the best interests of the parents in calculating child support, rather, the court’s primary touchstone is whether the minor child is supported, protected, and living in a secure environment. That means the hearing officer, and the circuit court judge have the (generally speaking) authority to override parents’ agreements to waive support. A waiver of child support can be determined not to be in a child’s best interests. The best interests of the children, not the best interests of the payor, are what the court considers first and foremost. If the amount to be paid is de minimis, or less than a certain amount ($50), a judge might agree to the parties paying no child support until or unless there is a substantial change in circumstances.
If you are seeking to waive child support arrears in Florida, it is likely you have arrived at that decision based on some common scenarios. One common situation is where a parent has their rights voluntarily terminated to allow for their child to be adopted by another parent. A child must have two parents in our state. This is often done in exchange for a revocation of any past due child support owing. Another situation that may occur is when the parties are mediating their case and one parent agrees to have less timesharing (this may sound counterintuitive unless you have been in this situation personally) in exchange for a reduction or removal of their child support arrears.
We return to our original question; can child support be waived if both parties agree? The answer is complicated. The court is not obligated to waive child support arrears in Florida or ongoing child support, though it is not necessarily going to disagree with that decision under certain limited circumstances. The ultimate question is what is in the best interests of the children? Call an Orlando child support lawyer today at 407-335-8113.