One way that child custody agreements can be decided upon is in court. However, some Texas parents opt to decide on child support using a more informal process. There are two main ways that child support agreements can be reached, including using alternative dispute resolutions and informal settlement negotiations.
Alternative dispute resolutions, or ADR, can help parents who want to resolve issues related to child custody and support outside of court. These resolutions include options like collaborative law and mediation. ADR can be beneficial if parents are overall willing to work together to resolve issues related to child support but have a few areas of dispute where they need help. These options tend to be more casual than a traditional court setting and can lead to earlier settlements. ADR typically allows both parents along with their attorneys to play an active role in coming to an agreed-upon decision in child support disputes as opposed to having a judge or jury make these decisions.
Informal negotiations can be used when parents are able to agree on things like how much will be paid for child support, how often those payments will be made and how long they will last. While attorneys may not be needed to come up with the agreement, parents may choose to consult with attorneys before finalizing the agreement.
Even in cases where peaceful negotiations take place between parents when it comes to child custody and support, a settlement agreement, which is a written document, will usually be needed. A judge is typically consulted in order to get final approval and to be sure that each parent understands what they have agreed upon. A family law attorney may be able to help an individual if they have questions about child custody, child support, monthly payments, joint custody and other matters that would arise during the divorce process.