It is a general rule in Florida family law cases that parents may not waive or contract away their child support. This is well established public policy and a court will not enter a final judgment if it does not include child support. However, Florida law does not, as a matter of public policy, preclude agreements between the parents about the terms of the child support. This issue was recently raised in Gentry v. Morgan, an appellate case out of the Third District Court of Appeal. The parents in this case agreed that the Father would pay child support totaling $2,500 per month. Under the agreement, the child support was not to be modified unless certain conditions were met. The child support could only be modified upward if the father made more than $2.5 million per year. The child support could only be modified downward if the father made less than $500,000 per year. In 2010, the mother petitioned the trial court for an upward modification, stating the increases in costs associated with the child had increased, such as educational and travel expenses. However, the father was not making more than $2.5 million per year. The trial court modified the child support but was ultimately overturned on appeal. The appellate court upheld the parties agreement regarding modification of child support and found the trial court erred in its decision and the parties agreement regarding the terms of child support was legally valid and not against public policy. The appellate court reasoned that while there may be moral deficiencies in the father’s refusal to pay for his child’s academic development, these moral deficiencies do not constitute a legally valid reason to override the parties agreement. If you have questions regarding your child support, contact your expert family lawyer today.
By Robert Sparks Attorneys