Sunday, August 06, 2006

From the Vault: Can a Person Contract to Limit Child Support?

Because nothing much has been happening lately in the criminal law field here in Iowa, I pulled this one out of the vault because it is a problem that everyone who pays child support considers: can we agree to limit child support by way of a mutual arrangement?

The answer is decidedly not.

In Marriage of Kerker, 2005 Iowa App. LEXIS 1498 (Dec. 7, 2005), the Iowa Court of Appeals rendered a decision that seems to lawyers to cover ground that's already been plowed but hope springs eternal, I suppose..

Kerker et ux divorced with two children. In the original divorce decree that was agreed to by the parties and the court, it was agreed that the spouse would receive $421.88 per month for the support of the children, and would not petition the court to increase the support.

The spouse subsequently contacted the Child Support Recovery Unit and sought a modification of the support order that raised the amount assessed to $710 per month.

On this issue, the court of appeals concluded that enforcing the agreement not to modify support would be against the interests of the children. To the extent an agreement not to modify support is injurious to the children it is not enforceable.

In a footnote, the court observed that even though the parties had not argued the issue, the court questioned whether stipulations that child support shall never be modified (which the court considers distinct from stipulations as to the amount), are consistent with public policy.


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