Agreeing to Overpay Child Support

In family law cases involving children, the issue of child support is always raised. The amount of child support owed from one parent to the other is determined by section 61.30 of the Florida Statutes, with a few reasons to deviate from the statutory amount. Even though the amount owed is determined by law, it is not uncommon for a parent with significantly higher income than the other parent to want to offer to pay more than what is required by statute.

This is a generous thing to do, and parents should want to support their children as much as possible. However, whether this extra amount should be required by court order, and made part of a written agreement between the parties, is a different question.

There is a well established principle in Florida family law regarding agreeing to pay child support in excess of the amount determined by statute. Cases like Simmons v. Simmons explain that if someone agrees in a written settlement agree to pay child support that is in excess of what the guidelines established by law require, that person cannot then ask to lower their child support just because they are paying more than the guidelines require.

This does not mean that child support can never be changed, it just means that there must be a reason other than the statute allows for a lesser amount. The law in this area can become very intricate, and whether a reason other than the law allows for a lesser amount is a good enough reason is determined on a case by case basis.

Nuances of the law like this one are very important to be aware of when settling your divorce or paternity case. It is important to have the proper guidance and counseling from a knowledgeable family law attorney so that you can be aware of all of the potential consequences of your agreement before it is signed.