Negotiating Child Support with Child's Father

Updated on September 18, 2010
K.S. asks from Boston, MA
18 answers

I have decided not to take my baby daughter’s dad to court for child support. Him and I have decided to try and work out the child support between us. He has said he can not afford the state guidlines. However, I think he should give me a set amount ea. month and I pay for the child’s expenses w/that money. He thinks the amount should be “fair”. Of course neither of us can agree on what is fair. If I am doing him a favor by not taking him to court why should HE get to tell Me what is fair and what is not?. He wants to pay for half her daycare bill and all of her expenses like, diapers, formula, clothing. What about the little things that add up?..should I allow HIM to call the shots on this?

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So What Happened?

Never did take him to court and I wish I had. So, in the end he ended up calling the shots.

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answers from Austin on

So you can't agree on what is "fair" - that ought to be hint enough that you need an order in place along with the appropriate child support amount. Yes, you can do it later, but it's better to just make it all official and on record in the beginning rather than a he said /she said thing later down the road.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Toledo on

OK, you're splitting up with this guy instead of marrying him and being a family, which is a good thing, obviously, and already you can't agree on what's fair. You can't agree about the cost of supporting her, who should pay for what, etc., and he's barely out the door. You are looking at 17 more years of trying to get money out of this loser!! The only reason men beg women NOT to take them to court and promise anything, is that they know once you get that order, he HAS to pay. Please, please, take him to court. If he truly wants to be "fair", then he has no reason not to make it legal and binding.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Don't play the game. Even if you go to court the monetary amount can be one agreed on by the two of you and the court can be used for enforcement as well as record keeping. The thing that I liked about going to court was I didn't have to worry about "why he should get to tell me what is fair or not." He isn't negotiating in good faith here which is why you should go to court in my opinion.

In my state, you actually meet with a mediator before it even gets before a judge if it needs to go to the judge. The mediator is an impartial person that helps you both determine what support should be provided for the child as well as visitation. Things I didn't even think about like insurance (health & life) were included in this discussion. If you can't come to agreeable terms with the mediator then the case goes to a judge which will determine based on the state guidelines for support. As the custodial parent you can say yes to this amount or agree to a lessor amount if you choose. You also get to determine if this money is going to come directly out of his check (which I also recommend - for people not negotiating in good faith).

That is admirable that he wants to pay for half her daycare, and all diapers, formula and clothing but how will he get these things to you or the money is in place for you to get them on a timely basis. The other thing you don't discuss here is her health care costs. Who pays for her doctor's bills, shots, prescriptions, heaven forbid - hospitalizations, etc.

Without knowing the financial picture for each of you, I can't determine what is fair. On the surface his proposal seems fair but will he be paying the daycare directly? How will you handle a missed payment if that is the case? Are you prepared to cover the costs of the entire daycare if he misses a payment?

Long story short, even if you decide you don't want the courts involved it may be in your daughter's best interest for you to have what has be decided filed with the courts for enforcement and record keeping. You also should keep track of what you are spending for your daughter as well. This could be an issue in the future. Good luck with this touchy matter.

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answers from Washington DC on

Go to court. That's the only way to protect your daughter's right to support from her father. Don't wait, go to court. Trust me, it's the only way that it'll work out in the long run.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think this will only work if you guys get along...if you do not I think this will always be a fight and you would be better off going to court. So it sounds like the 2 of you need to have a sit down and go over every little thing and see how it goes.

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answers from Dallas on

you're asking for trouble doing it this way. do it through the courts to make it legal and proper and you'll save yourself hassle later on.

otherwise, look up the child support calculation for your state. I'm in TX and the NCP pays 20% of their net income. super easy calculation. the NCP also pays half of insurance and half of all out-of-pocket medical/dental/vision charges after what insurance has paid.

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answers from Tampa on

I'm sure it's been said... it's a bad idea to negotiate without the state involved. You would have no recourse against him if he suddenly decides he's tired of paying. As for the courts... they take into consideration wages, expenses etc - - so him saying the state requires too much support from him is a lie.

Unless you are a rich professional career woman - get onto foodstamps and get your child on medicaid. Once you do that, they will automatically go after him for child support.

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answers from Columbus on

My daughters bio father and I agreed on a set monthly amount 5 years ago and we've had no problems. But I am fair about it, I'm not trying to get more than what is needed for her.

For a month I kept all receipts of everything I bought for her, I added in health insurance, he stayed in the house we were renting at the time so when I got an apt I figured the difference between a two bedroom vs. the one bedroom and we split the difference (say the two bedroom apt we needed was $650 and the one bedroom was $550 (which is what I could get if it was just me), we split the $100 so he paid $50 towards her room). Just think of everything possible you have to pay for her then split it. We also agreed that the amount could change at a later time. As our daughter got older, the amount has increased but I always have reason to back it when we discuss raising the amount (which has happened twice in 5 years).

When things come up that we did not figure in the monthly payment (dental work she had to have done as an example) He is willing to split the amount with me because he knows I'm fair about the amount he pays and doesn't feel I'm out to get his money). Before school starts we both buy her school clothes (I take her to shop and then he goes and buys what he wants for her). When I put her in dance and soccer, I don't ask him to help out with the outfits or fees needed b/c that is something I choose to put her in. I only ask him to help out with the NEEDS, not what I WANT her to have.

If you're fair with him, he'll (hopefully) be fair back. I wouldn't say you are only doing him a favor by not going to court. If you play fair, you might get more than what a court would give you. It sounds like you guys are already having issues with this so court might be best for you. My ex & I get along so we don't have a lot of issues other people do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My opinion, take him to court for child support. Just because right now he wants to do this, most of the time they start out giving then next thing you know nothing... I think you've allowed him to make the shots this far or else you have court order child support. That is a bogus excuse that "He can not afford the state guideline". As he's doing with you, he trying to get out of paying what he needs too. They go off how much the person is making. If he loses his job they can re-calculate how much he has to pay, get another one, re-do it again. Again, this is my opinion, go to COURT!

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answers from New York on

Two things... if you were to take him to court, the judge would specify either an amount or a percentage that he would have to pay monthly. I would suggest having a similar discussion. If you want him to pay for half of everything, save your receipts and meet monthly to review them. If you would prefer to have a set amount and then agree to split items that exceed that amount or "big ticket items", then do that.

Either way, I would write down what you agree to and have someone neutral sign it as a witness. It may not be drafted by a lawyer, but at least there would be something in writing should an issues arise.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I got this from the Massachusettes Child Support Guidelines which has LOTS of information! The site is:

The amount of support he should pay is based on his earnings (gross) per week.

For O. child, if he makes between $101-$280, then 21% of his gross weekly.

If his weekly gross is between $281-$750 then $59 + 23% of his income.

If he makes $751 or more per week, then $167 + 25% of his income.

Look at the site--lots of good information and LOTS to think about. A mediator might be the best way to go. Good luck.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

no i sure wouldn't think this is fair to YOUR CHILD. my ex husband did the same thing and now only pays what he HAS to pay like medical expenses and...well, medical expenses, fixing to take him to court for it now.

he'll find a way to afford it if he wants to keep his license because it's ordered. i'd get a court order so you can put an income assignment on it too, that way there is no debate about what's been paid and what has not, it's gone before he even gets his check and the state themselve's send you a check.

my husband VOLUNTEERED to have his paycheck garnished for this very reason...makes it soooo much easier

remember this is your CHILD you're talking about. your baby needs him to pay what is due.

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answers from Albany on

Each state has a formula they use to figure out 'fair' child support, it takes into account many different factors, it is the bare MINIMUM of 'fair' it will not be enough for you to live on anyway, in my case it worked out to about 29% of my exs reported salary. He agreed to a higher amount since I was willing to give on some other areas of the agreement. It still is not enough to live on. If you have an attorney write up an agreement, that alone may be enough for him to agree without going to court. In a perfect word, you'd both agree, if not, you need to go to bat for what your child needs.

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answers from Tulsa on

He will always be out of money when you need and have the control to say no, or you are spending too much. It is just a control issue. He needs to pay $XXX.xx amount each month, carry the child on his insurance, and he can pay for half the child care if you really want him to. I had this happen at my child care center and it did not work, one or the other was always late or just didn't pay, that effected the child and the mom ended up having to find other child care. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I don't owe any late payment fee, I paid you on time", "well, your child care is not paid, you have to pay it and a late fee", "You'll just have to talk to him/her..." The child care center has to be paid regardless and you may as well just plan on paying it and if he pays then you skip a week or something.

As for state guidelines, you can look up child support guidelines online and they are based on minimum wages. Even if he is a seasonal worker he will still have to pay several hundred dollars a month.

Make out a budget for him. Show him just how much he's trying to say he'll be willing to pay. For example, it looks like a LOT of money when you add up all the things you listed. He would most likely pay less through court ordered.

I would go ahead and get the child support on a court order, that way if he doesn't pay they will start taking it out of his paycheck each pay-day. It is much more humane to have an agreement in writing with a judges signature on it so you don't ever have to argue about it again.

All my grandkids that I am raising has child support deducted from wages before taxes and other deductions. They get some kind of tax break on it but we still claim the children on our taxes as our Dependants. I know that money is going to be there every week, except when they are terminated from employment. That has happened once or twice but they always let me know if they aren't working so I can budget for it.



answers from Boston on

Even if you come up with an amount you can still take him to court to have the support deducted from his pay check every week/month. If the judge sees that you two are getting along and agreeing on what is best for your child then they usually will agree on the amount even if its less than the state guidelines.



answers from New York on

No, he should not call the shot, nor should you. You need to reach an agreement that you can both live with.

He sounds like he would rather pay for items than give you a set amount each month. There's nothing wrong with that. However, you need to consider "what happens if he doesn't pay 1/2 the daycare on time?".

Whatever you decide, be sure to put it in writing, sign it and have it notarized.


answers from Phoenix on

This is exactly why it's set up thru the state. Because men dont WANT to pay and the moms wont MAKE them. On your counties website there should be a child support cost estimator you can use. It's very simple and you should not feel sorry for him and allow him to pay whatever he "thinks" is fair. There is no such thing. There is also the fact that your kids will not always be in daycare and then you would have to go back to court or have it adjusted later which is hard to do. Do it right the first time and don't mess around with it. Good luck,.

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