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Reaching a child support agreement outside of court

Massachusetts parents who are going through a divorce have a few options with respect to child support. While it is often determined by a judge, parents have other options to come to an agreement. It will still need to be approved by a court, however.

Informal negotiations between the parents are often conducted with the assistance of family law attorneys. When the parents are willing and able to cooperate with one another on child support issues, these informal negotiations can address all issues, including payment amounts, duration of support and frequency. The goal of these negotiations is to produce a written agreement to be included as part of the overall divorce decree.

Another alternative for coming to an accord on child support issues is alternative dispute resolution. These processes include mediation and collaborative law and are more relaxed than a traditional court hearing. Parents can play an active role in resolving their issues instead of leaving decisions to a third party.

However the agreement was reached, a final written document should be brought before a judge for final approval. This also confirms that the parents' agreement meets the requirements of state law. Once the agreement is approved by the court, it then becomes binding.

Family law attorneys have a critical role to play in assisting parents in creating child support agreements outside of court. Even in the most amicable of divorces, a family law attorney can advise parents to ensure that their informal agreements meet the guidelines of state law and are in good shape to be approved by a judge.

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