A divorce affects each member of the family, especially the kids. The divorcing couple must decide on multiple issues, like who keeps the house and how to divide other assets.
One of the most contentious legal battles in divorces is child custody and support. Going into negotiations well-prepared and open-mindedly is crucial. You must be willing to hear out your spouse and find a way to resolve the matter to get the result that best benefits your kids.
Here are the strategies you can follow to negotiate a fair and mutually-beneficial child support agreement.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
People often lead with their emotions during divorce proceedings. It’s understandable. Going through a divorce is challenging and stirs up negative emotions. Although it might be difficult, leave your emotions at the door during negotiation sessions.
Your primary focus should be on what’s best for your child. If you feel angry, upset, or overwhelmed, consider seeking support and advice from a trusted family member or friend. Talking to someone who has been through a divorce can help. Getting out your feelings about what you’re going through can allow you to discuss child support with a clear mind.
You must be patient. Child support cases can take significant time to resolve. Although you want to speed through the process to move forward with your life, prepare for a lengthy battle. However, avoid outbursts during negotiations. You shouldn’t yell or call your spouse names despite how you feel about them. Your behavior can impact the results of any court proceedings.
You must be willing to set your differences aside for your child’s benefit. That’s what child support payments are for. They provide your child with necessities like healthcare, education, and food. You might believe your spouse should pay you but arguing your position requires adequate preparation. Remaining patient and calm is essential to prevent saying or doing something your spouse can use against you in court.
Review Child Support Laws
In New York, child support payments are calculated using parents’ annual income and the number of children they share. The court follows a guideline to determine the payment amount if the parents’ combined income is at or below a specific threshold. Judges can adjust the number if one parent’s share is inappropriate or unjust.
Knowing child support laws is critical so you can understand your potential financial obligation. You can negotiate, understanding how the judge will determine who should pay and how much. You also avoid surprises during the legal process.
You can prevent court-ordered child support if you know the laws and want to reach an agreement without the judge’s involvement. A separation agreement outlining your wish to waive child support obligations or use the amount and schedule you and your spouse agreed to can bypass the guidelines under state law. Instead of letting a judge decide who pays, how much the payments should be, and the duration of support, you and your spouse can work out an arrangement that works for both of you.
Calculate All Child-Related Expenses
Divorce leads to financial changes. Whether you pay or receive child support, you must budget for your child’s future. Writing down every expense related to your child’s upbringing is critical. You can estimate what everything will cost to prepare yourself when you finalize your divorce. It also keeps things fair by ensuring neither you nor your spouse pays more than you can afford or receive more than you need.
Common child-related expenses include:
- After-school and extracurricular activities
- Healthcare, including medical, vision, and dental
Work with Your Spouse Instead of Against Them
Negotiating a child support agreement with your spouse is simpler than fighting in court. You should find a way to work together on ironing out the terms of a settlement to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. You’re more likely to come to an agreement by discussing the issue and suggesting solutions.
Get Help Negotiating Your Child Support Agreement
The most important aspect of negotiating child support is hiring an experienced lawyer. Seeking representation doesn’t mean negotiations can’t be amicable. You need a legal team to guide you through the process and keep you focused on the end goal.
The Mandel Law Firm has decades of experience representing New York City clients in their divorces. You can count on us to protect your rights and pursue a fair child support agreement that works for everyone.
Call us at (646) 770-3868 for a confidential consultation today to learn more about how we can help.