Can child support be waived?
The short answer is – no. It is well established in New Jersey case law that parents are not legally permitted to waive the payment and/or receipt of child support. In essence, the receipt of child support is the right of the child, and not of the parents, and the child does not have the legal ability to waive this right.
However, it is not uncommon for agreements to not include a provision directing that one party pay child support to the other in the traditional sense. It is possible for “child support” to be paid indirectly. For example, perhaps one parent is responsible for paying for certain expenses in the former marital home where the child resides. Or, perhaps there is an alimony or other financial obligation that offsets against child support. The point to be made is that so long as there is some identifiable and tangible consideration for traditional child support not being paid then there should be no issue.
One question that is frequently asked, most typically in cases where the parties are not married or have little to no relationship, is whether child support can be waived if one parent “relinquishes their legal rights” to the child. This too is an area already addressed in case law. Absent an adoption proceeding where someone else seeks to stand in the place of the would be payor, “relinquishing” one’s legal rights to avoid child support will not be enforceable in the event that one parent decides to bring the matter to court.
It should also be noted that there have been instances where a child has actually filed their own court application seeking child support from a parent who is avoiding an otherwise legal obligation to provide child support. Many of these cases arise in the context of issues concerning college contribution.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
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