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Ask Lawyer Lori Your Own Question
Lawyer Lori
Lawyer Lori, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2161
Experience:  Divorce, custody and child support attorney.
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My wife and I are getting a divorce. We both agree on an amount

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My wife and I are getting a divorce. We both agree on an amount I would pay for child support each month. Its just a handwritten agreement with both of our signatures on it. Is this legal?

Lawyer Lori :

Good morning. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be working with you today.

Lawyer Lori :

Can you tell me if the divorce has been filed yet?

Customer:

No.

Lawyer Lori :

Typically, even though you have reached an agreement (outside of court) and you have both agreed to it, a court has the right to review any child support agreement to ensure that it is fair to both parties as well as to the children.

Customer:

The amount was the most I could afford. Do you mean that a judge could make me pay more?

Lawyer Lori :

Until any child support agreement is approved by a court, it may not be legally binding. However, it is evidence of what your intent was. You do need to be aware that also until there is a court order in place, child support is actually not a legal obligation and usually a court will only order child support from the date that a motion is filed.

Lawyer Lori :

Each state has a set of child support guidelines which set forth what that state would require as a child support payment. If you could tell me what state you are in, I may be able to provide you with a link to a child support calculator which would give you a fair idea of what a judge would order.

Customer:

So, I dont have to pay until it is ordered? And I reside in the state of Maryland.

Customer:

We both believe that the amount agreed upon is less than the state would require.

Lawyer Lori :

Typically, you do not have to pay until a court orders you to. However, since you have signed an agreement to pay her, the court has the option to enforce it.

Lawyer Lori :

A court may approve that amount if both of you are in agreement and it is not too unfair to either party. But take a look at the calculator located on this website and it should give you a fairly accurate idea of what you would pay if you went according to the guidelines: http://www.dhr.state.md.us/CSOCGuide/App/disclaimer.do.

Customer:

I just did not want to leave and then be accused of abandonement so I thought that the agreement would speak otherwise.

Lawyer Lori :

So long as a divorce has been filed or you are providing support, you would not have abandoned the family.

Lawyer Lori :

And also you have the right to continue to see your children, which is also proof that you have not abandoned them.

Customer:

Could that support be in a form of receipts for goods for my child?

Lawyer Lori :

If it is court ordered child support, that is money paid to the custodial parent. Prior to a court order, so long as the mother is in agreement, like should be fine.

Lawyer Lori :

Should you have any followup questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Lawyer Lori and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you