Can a Parent Relinquish Child Support?

By Beverly Bird

One of the greatest difficulties with understanding the divorce process is that the rules can change from state to state. What's true in one jurisdiction isn't always the rule in the next. However, child support laws are pretty universal; you can't get divorced without the court addressing it -- and most states will not allow you to waive it.

One of the greatest difficulties with understanding the divorce process is that the rules can change from state to state. What's true in one jurisdiction isn't always the rule in the next. However, child support laws are pretty universal; you can't get divorced without the court addressing it -- and most states will not allow you to waive it.

A Child's Right

Minor children are legally entitled to support from both parents, so child support technically belongs to your child, not to you. States take the view that you cannot waive something that was never yours. In some unique circumstances, such as if both you and your spouse earn extraordinarily high incomes, the court may allow you to avoid regular support payments, but not the support itself. For example, your spouse might set up a trust fund for your child that will provide for her in lieu of sending you a check every week.

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Options to Using Payments

If you don't want or need your spouse's child support payments, you can set the money aside in an account for your child's use later; she might appreciate a nice windfall to sustain her when she graduates from college and is looking for a job. You might also decline to have your support payments go through your state's child support services, so there's no official record of whether your spouse is paying you. If he doesn't make regular payments, you don't have to legally pursue him for arrears. If you're collecting public assistance, however, it's usually mandatory that child support go through your state's collection services.

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Child Support Questions & Answers

References

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What Percentage Is Child Support Based On in Arkansas?

Of the many uncertainties involved with divorce, child support can be front and center. It will have a significant effect on your post-separation budget, so you'll probably want to know as soon as possible how much your obligation will be. In some states, it can be difficult to calculate what percentage of your income will go toward support, at least without professional help. If you live in Arkansas, however, you can take heart because child support is relatively simple to calculate.

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Although a parent may have very compelling reasons for not wanting to accept child support from her ex, Texas will not usually allow her to waive it. The state’s reasoning is that it’s not her money to decline. It belongs to her child. The state of Texas is aggressive when it comes to collecting child support. However, each case still comes down to the opinion of a single judge on a case-by-case basis. If a parent's child support case is assigned to a judge who is willing to work with her, she may have some options.

Social Security Benefits in Lieu of Child Support Payments

Despite all the emotion involved, divorce is ultimately a numbers game. Marital property must be valued and divided, and spousal support and child support are calculated based on your incomes. Social Security benefits are a tricky part of the support equation. Some benefits may reduce or even eliminate your child support obligation.

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