When parents separate, the children get caught in the middle. The state will make sure that they are always provided for by one or by both parents. If each parent consents to have an arrangement for support, they can come up with a child support agreement. Never take a child support agreement template for granted because they’re legally enforceable.

Child Support Agreement Templates

Why is it important to learn about child support agreements?

Separating parents can settle things by themselves to set up a child support agreement of their own. It’s recommended though to put the details of your agreement in writing and affix your signatures. Doing this will avoid any misunderstandings which might come up later. Furthermore, it’s easier to implement a written child support agreement letter which contains the signatures of both parents.

An agreement between two parents gives some leeway on how much the amount of support will be which, of course, should be fair. You can research on how much child support a judge would order one or both parents to pay so that this can be your basis for negotiations.

Even judges have to base their decisions on the guidelines of child support. There are sets of tables and rules found in the Federal Child Support Guidelines under the Divorce Act. There are guidelines in territorial and provincial laws too. Those that apply to you depends upon your own predicament.

You can find more information in the guidelines which may help you in making decisions regarding child support. It also comes with several considerations that will give you the assurance that you’ve agreed on a fair amount for the child support. Although the Federal Guidelines have similarities with most territorial and provincial child support guidelines, they have some differences too.

Child Support Agreement Forms

What is a binding child support agreement?

A binding child support agreement is a type of written document that contains the signatures of both parents. It specifies the amount, method, and the frequency of the child support payments. This differs from a limited agreement in the sense that you can draft the child support agreement form and agree upon it even without any child support assessment.

The amount doesn’t matter as long as both parents approve. It could either be more, equal or less than the standard child support. Prepare the following requirements before you create a binding child support agreement template:

  • Both parents should get separate legal advice on the disadvantages and advantages of entering into this type of agreement
  • The lawyer of each parent should provide a signed certificate stating that he has given legal advice
  • Attach the lawyer’s certificate to the binding agreement

You can only terminate this type of agreement when:

  • It’s made in writing by both of the parents
  • You create a different binding agreement
  • It’s ordered by the court

It’s necessary to seek legal advice before you end the binding child support agreement. Should there be a disagreement on the payments, you can always apply for an administrative child support assessment.

What is a limited child support agreement?

This is another type of child support agreement letter or agreement. It’s also a written document that’s signed by both parents and which specifies the details of the child support payments. This type, however, requires an administrative assessment.

Again, before entering into the agreement, it’s always recommended to seek legal advice. Here are the essential elements of a limited agreement:

  • There must be an administrative assessment in place
  • The amount of child support under the agreement must be equal or greater than the amount given in the assessment

You can only terminate this type of agreement when:

  • You enter another limited or binding agreement
  • Both parents agree to the termination in writing
  • The notional assessment changes by more than 15%
  • Three years have passed
  • It’s ordered by the court

Other types of child support agreements

Child support legislation gives some leeway for parents to reach an agreement on the amount of child support. The agreement must comply with the requirements of the legislation, and it should include other relevant matters.

We have discussed the two main types of child support agreement forms already. After drafting a child support agreement outside of court, parents can apply to have the agreement accepted. There are other types of agreements you can draft including:

  • Transitional agreements
    These refer agreements created prior to July 2008. They continue to have the same effect from said date. Although these are still considered binding child support agreements, there are different rules that govern them. They also have different termination requirements as against those specified in binding agreements.
  • Termination agreements
    This also is a binding agreement signed by both parents with the sole purpose of terminating an existing binding agreement.

Child Support Agreement Letters

Can I have a private agreement for child support?

There is now an increasing number of separated parents who would rather enter into private maintenance payment agreement for child support instead of applying through the legal process to determine child support payments. These parents believe that providing child support is a private issue between them.

There is no need to undergo the legal process of creating the child support agreement template, especially if it satisfies both parties. But you should still have the child support agreement outside of court in written form to make everything clear for both parties. The exception to this is if the parents weren’t living together at the time of the child’s birth.

How do I change my child support agreement?

The situations in life changes constantly. Often, when these changes happen, there is a need to change support agreements and orders. This is necessary to make sure that the support agreements and orders remain fair. You still have to pay child support even when you don’t see your children.

Couples undergo an amount of emotional and financial stress when they go through a separation or a divorce. This makes it more difficult for both parties to get along and, consequently, the conflict may lead to parents making the wrong decisions for their children.

Sadly, the children get caught in the middle of altercations, and this isn’t fair for the kids. If you want to make any changes in the existing agreement, keep these points in mind:

  • You can’t stop the one parent from visiting or seeing the child just because he/she isn’t paying child support.
  • You can’t stop giving child support payment just because the other parent doesn’t allow you to see the child.

How do you update the information on child support agreement or end it?

There is a need to recalculate your child support payments if you initially based the amount on your income as this may change. Provide an update on your income information to ill ensure that the amount of the child support remains fair for all parties.

There are rules on updating information on child support, and these can depend on which of the child support guidelines apply to your predicament. For instance, the Federal Guidelines state that one parent, a provincial agency or an “order assignee” can request for updated information regarding your income every year. Make this request in writing. Moreover, your agreement may require that you provide updated income information in specific situations or at certain times.

For those who pay child support, it’s better for you to provide your updated income information even before you’re requested to do so. In cases where you neglect to provide such, you might receive a court order that will force you to give retroactive support payments.

Also, check your written agreement to verify the date when child support will end. More often than not, the termination of payments happens when the child reaches a certain age or when he attains a certain level of education.

Many agreements do not specify when support the will end. If so, the payments will continue until you and the other party agree on when it should end. In cases where you don’t settle on any agreements, you can request the court to decide.

If you’re divorced, always remember that the child has an entitlement to child support for as long as they meet the meaning of a “child of marriage.” For any doubts on the meaning of this phrase, seek advice from an attorney. In case the other party should disagree with your interpretation, a family justice service or a mediation can help both of you reach an agreement.

Where can you get advice about child support agreements?

It’s highly recommended to consult with a family lawyer if you have issues on child support, even if you can afford only one or two sessions. A good family lawyer can help you in:

  • Understanding which guidelines apply to your situation
  • Using the guidelines to calculate the proper child support amount to pay
  • Understanding your legal obligations and rights
  • Understanding your child’s best interests and rights
  • Providing the required documents in case you decide to go to court

Almost all provincial bar associations have referral services which can help you get in touch with lawyers who give free consultations or at a reduced price the first time around. Your state may also have family justice services who can recommend mediation which can help in threshing out with the other parent an out-of-court agreement.

TemplateLab March 13th, 2019