Typically, a child support arrangement is either agreed upon by the parents voluntarily or through alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Child support matters may also be settled by a court order. However, it may be preferable for parents who have a reasonably good relationship with each other to work out their own arrangement. This may be done without legal counsel, but most couples will have their respective lawyers review the agreement.
Parents who are about to end their marriage may also choose to go through mediation or a collaborative law process to resolve child support issues. In such a scenario, each parent will work both together and with their attorneys to come to a child support settlement agreement without the need for a court order.
Once an agreement is reached, the parties will put its terms in writing. It will likely be a part of a larger divorce settlement agreement. Assuming it meets the best interest of the child and adheres to state guidelines, the agreement will almost surely be entered into public record by a judge. At that point, it becomes a legally binding document.
In most cases, state law will help in determining child support amounts and how long support must be provided. Speaking with an attorney may help an individual learn more about the process of asking for and receiving support payments. Legal counsel may also review the language of any agreement negotiated privately with the other parent or through mediation. This may help ensure that the agreement is fair and adheres to state child support guidelines.