California parents are obligated to contribute financially to the upbringing of their children. When they are seeking to end their marriage, the noncustodial parent will likely be obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent. There are a few ways that this issue can be handled.

An agreement can result from informal negotiations between the parents, who will often ask their respective lawyers to assist. In other cases, parents can choose to participate in alternative dispute resolution proceedings that would occur outside of the courtroom. The determination can also be made by a judge if no accord can otherwise be reached.

Parents can work with one another to get resolutions to all of their child support issues, such as the amount of payments as well as how often and how long the payment should be made. The informal negotiations used to obtain these resolutions can be done with or without legal representation. The parents can allow the attorneys to negotiate on their behalf, or they can engage in the negotiations themselves and only consult the attorneys before an agreement is finalized. The desired result will be a written agreement that will be submitted to the court for its review. If it meets state guidelines and appears to be fair, it will be made part of a court order.

An alternative dispute resolution method such as collaborative law or mediation might be an appropriate alternative. However, the success of the ADR process often hinges on the degree of the parents’ willingness to work together and the scope of their disagreements regarding key child support issues. A family law attorney may advise clients of the most appropriate legal avenues to pursue to resolve child support disputes.