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Making a child support agreement outside of court

There are a number of options available for Arizona parents who are getting a divorce and who would prefer not to go through litigation and have a judge make a child support decision. Parents might choose an alternative dispute resolution process. Arbitration is not very common in family law, but it may be used in some cases. It involves a neutral third party who listens to both sides and reaches a decision. The parents do not necessarily have to abide by the decision, and aspects of it might be changed later in court. With mediation and collaborative law, parents actively participate in resolving conflict and reaching a compromise.

A more informal solution is for parents to negotiate an arrangement together with the help of their attorneys. Parents can also have their attorneys conduct these negotiations on their behalf

Once parents have decided how much will be paid in child support, how often, and for how long, they can create a written agreement. A judge can then review the agreement to make sure it does not violate state child support guidelines and is fair. At this point, the agreement becomes legally binding. This allows parents to pursue a legal remedy if one parent does not keep to the agreement.

In addition to child support, one spouse might pay alimony to the other. This may also be negotiated using one of these methods along with custody, visitation and property division. People may want to discuss their goals and concerns with an attorney who may be able to help guide the negotiations. For example, a person might be particularly concerned about keeping a portion of the retirement account or staying in the family home. Working with an attorney, a person may get a better understanding of which of those goals are feasible.

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