It’s possible to obtain a child support order below the amount calculated by the State Uniform Guideline. Family Code Section 4057 lists certain instances in which the court can order a child support award below the Guideline amount. Among the instances listed is a stipulation between the parties for a different amount of child support that satisfies the requirements of Section 4065.
Section 4065 conditions court approval of stipulated child support agreements that deviate from the amount established by the Guideline upon the parties declaration of the following:
- The parties are fully informed of their rights concerning child support
- The order is being agreed to without coercion or duress
- The needs of the children will be adequately met by the stipulated amount
- The agreement is in the best interests of the children &
- The right to support has not been assigned to the County pursuant to Section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and no public assistance application is pending.
In addition to the aforementioned declarations, court approval is conditioned upon the local child support agency signing the stipulation if the child support agency is providing enforcement services. If the children are receiving CalWORKS benefits, there is a pending application for public assistance, or the parent receiving support has not consented to the order, the child support agency cannot sign the stipulated agreement.
Unfortunately for the party gaining the benefit of a stipulated child support amount below the Guideline amount, the order can be modified in the future without a showing of changed circumstances. As a result, either party can seek modification of the stipulated order in favor of the Guideline amount or higher.