Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Benson Varghese
From time to time, parents will ask if they can agree to no child support in Texas. In other words, both parties would like child support to be waived so that no one is required to pay. The simple answer to this question is: it’s possible, but only if the agreement is approved by a judge.
In this article, our experienced Fort Worth child support attorneys will explain what happens if parents want to forgo child support and answer some frequently asked questions about this arrangement.
Why would parents agree to no child support in Texas?
In some cases, parents agree that child support isn't needed. Often, in such circumstances, the parties have a good relationship, comparable high incomes, and share parenting time and resources equitably. They feel child support isn't necessary and agree that it shouldn't be part of their divorce or child agreement.
Sometimes we also see requests for waiver of child support when the non-custodial parent is struggling financially, and the other parent is well-off and doesn't need child support to afford the child's expenses.
What does Texas law say if parents agree to no child support?
Texas Family Code 154.124 states that parties may enter into a written agreement concerning child support, but a court must find that the agreement is in the "best interest of the child." If the court doesn't find the agreement in the child's best interest, the judge may order child support anyway.
Ultimately, it's up to the judge. Even after an agreement is reached and signed off on by both parties, it must still be approved by a judge before it is legally binding. The judge doesn't have to go along with it - and often will not.
So, what is the process if parents agree they don't want child support?
Generally speaking, under Texas law, both parents are required to contribute financially to the support of the child. This includes providing for the child’s food, clothing, health care, and other basic needs.
To have a no-child support agreement approved, the agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It should include a provision that the agreement will remain in effect until there is a material change in circumstances. The agreement should also state that either party may go back to court and request modification of the agreement if necessary.
It's important to have an experienced family law attorney guide you through this process, prepare the required documentation, and argue for the agreement to be approved by a judge after careful consideration by everyone involved.
Why would a judge agree to no child support in Texas?
A judge may agree to no child support in Texas if the agreement serves the best interest of the child or children involved. These factors include: emotional stability, the child's physical health and safety, financial security, and social development. The agreement must also prove that both parents are financially capable of fully providing for the child's basic needs without relying on a court-ordered obligation.
Can we agree to just stop paying child support without going to court?
No, this is the worst possible approach because the agreement is not legally binding. Not paying child support can result in serious consequences, including wage garnishment and even jail time.
The only way to agree to no child support in Texas is for the agreement to be approved by a judge. Having an experienced family law attorney help you through this process is the best way to improve your chances for your agreement getting approved and is legally binding.
Can a parent refuse to accept child support?
There are many reasons why a parent may want to refuse child support from their ex. Sometimes, they wrongly believe that they can refuse to let the other parent see the child if they aren't paying child support. However, child support and visitation are completely different issues.
Whatever the case may be, Texas doesn't just allow a parent to waive or refuse child support on their own without approval by a judge. This is because child support belongs to the child, not the parent.
If the custodial parent doesn't need child support payments to meet the child's needs, another option could be to set the money aside for the child's future. An experienced family law attorney at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group can discuss your options.
Want to try and waive child support? Contact us.
Waiving child support isn’t automatic, even if both sides agree and it’s an amicable decision. If fact, it’s often an uphill battle. Co-parents will need help from an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney. Call us today at 817-900-3220 for a consultation. Our attorneys will help you understand the process so you can make the best decision going forward for everyone involved.