Parties can stipulate to a child support amount, which may be different from the amount given by the guideline formula. In approving a stipulated agreement for support, the court must confirm that the parties declare the following:
- They are fully informed of their rights concerning child support
- They agree to the order without coercion or duress
- The agreement is in the children’s best interests.
- The stipulated amount will adequately meet the children’s needs; and
- The right to support has not been assigned to the county, and no application for public assistance is pending.
A signature from the local child support agency is necessary for the validity of the agreement if the agency is providing child support enforcement services. This is for the best interests of a child. The child support agency will not sign a stipulated agreement ordering an amount below the guideline amount if the following are present:
- The children are receiving CalWORKS benefits
- There is a pending application for public assistance; or
- If the parent receiving support has not consented to the order.
There is no need to show a change in circumstance to modify a child support order when the stipulated amount is below the amount established by the guideline formula. When a court approves a stipulation of child support between parties, and the amount of support stipulated is different from the one provided by the formula, the court must include the following information on record:
- The amount of support that would have been ordered under the guideline formula.
- The reasons the amount of support ordered differs from the guideline formula amount.
- The reasons the amount of support ordered is consistent with the best interests of the children.
Waiver or limitation of the right to child support is forbidden. Similarly, parents cannot divest the court of jurisdiction over child support.