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Is It Worth Getting a Binding Child Support Agreement?

binding child support agreements
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Binding Child Support agreements are arrangements about the payment of child support from one parent to another. The agreement allows for payment of periodic and non-periodic child support. Non-periodic payment helps cover school fees, mortgage payments, or health benefits. However, if you know the other party won’t pay up, don’t go for non-periodic payments. The Child Support Agency will not collect or follow up on non-payment of non-periodic payments. So, is it worth it to get a binding child support agreement?

Is it worth getting a Binding Child Support Agreement (BCSA)?    

Yes. It will ensure the child doesn’t suffer or lack because the parents are no longer together. There are two categories of Child Support Agreements in child support agreements: limited and binding child support agreements.

Limited agreements

These agreements are simple because they don’t need provision and certification of legal guidance. Furthermore, it has an automatic alternative to end them after 3 years. In addition, it comes with a notional assessment by child support that may trigger it to end earlier. 

Understanding that all child support agreements have the notional assessment is vital. It is an assessment by the Child Support Agency of the amount of child support that would be due if the deal was in place. If the notional assessment varies significantly, the limited agreement ends. Certain things can affect the notional assessment, which include:

  • The financial position of the paying parent
  • Care arrangements

Binding child support agreement

These agreements can be made after both parents acquire separate legal guidance. The agreement can allow child support higher or lower than the amount assessed by the Child Support Agency. The BCSA remains valid until each child reaches the age of 18. Remember, for this agreement to be binding; both parents must get independent legal advice. In addition, their attorneys must sign a certificate proving that they gave the parent legal advice about the agreement.

A binding child support agreement doesn’t end after a set period unless written in the contract. However, a binding agreement can be set aside under exceptional occurrences leading to a child or applicant suffering hardship.

How can a binding child support agreement get discontinued?

Section 80D of the Assessment Act states that you can discontinue the agreement and get into a new one. You can also get a termination agreement if you don’t want to continue with the consented child support arrangements. But you must obtain legal advice, or if not, the family law child custody lawyer can help set it aside. It will ensure that each party feels entitled and secure about the agreed-upon arrangement.

A payee might stop making all or some payments due to changes in personal circumstances or refuse to pay. The arrears in payment accrue as a debt that the payee owes the other party. Other problems might arise that require you to get prompt legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. The lawyer will help you know how to protect yourself and devise a strategy for what comes next.

A proposal to terminate the BCSA faces much resistance from the other party. The reason is that they feel they will be a lot poorer financially. To avoid this, both parties need to engage in mediation to solve the issues. If they can’t do it amicably, the solution is to get a family law child custody lawyer to help. Then, they will have the court set aside the BCSA.

What are the pros and cons of entering a Binding child support agreement?

The BCSA has its pros and cons. One pro is that both parties can enjoy certainty and finality on the amount of child support to be paid. In addition, it gives parents a chance to plan for their children’s future. Also, making a BCSA is cheaper than going to family court to make consent orders.

Even though it offers certainty, the terms of these agreements are final, difficult, and cannot be altered. Also, the termination of BCSA must be by agreement or termination by the court. Therefore, parents must be cautious and create an agreement to cater to foreseeable changes. The changes are mostly in their financial circumstances until the kids reach 18.

What are the limitations of a binding child support agreement?

Some of the things that it does not support are parenting issues. For example, the days the children spend with parents each week and what happens on special occasions. All these are dealt with separately through court orders or parenting plans.

A BCSA is an excellent way to ensure a party’s certainty for their child’s future. However, before you get into one, you need to know what’s required of you. Ensure you understand what can lead to agreement termination and the legal measures you need to take.