Child support can be a funny thing. Even if a parent is willing to spend every cent he or she has when he or she is the custodial parent, some balk as soon as a court orders them to cut a check every month. In some cases, the parent will attempt to make a compromise with the other party to make some other kind of payment instead of child support. One of the more common requests is that the non-custodial party pays the mortgage instead of child support. This is a fairly common request, but it’s also one that needs to be unpacked.
To begin with, it’s entirely legal for one party to ask the other if they can pay something in lieu of child support. In a cooperative divorce that seeks to avoid the courts as much as possible, these requests are actually quite common. They can come from a number of places that have nothing to do with wanting to avoid payment, and many families choose these options as a good way to keep a familial connection even after the divorce. In fact, paying the mortgage may be an option that is better for all parties, especially if the required child support amount is less than the mortgage.
He cannot, however, demand that he be allowed to pay the mortgage if that’s not what you want. There’s nothing in the law that requires you to accept any kind of alternate child support, no matter what he or his lawyer tells you. The accepted action after a divorce is that a parent pay for the support of a child, and there’s no court in the United States that will make you accept anything different. Even if this is the best possible action for your family, it’s not one that you are required to take.
If you feel pressured into this kind of arrangement, you do have options. Working with your divorce attorney to make sure that you are not pressured is the first step to take. If that doesn’t work, it’s important to take things directly to court. While you might not want to involve the courts in a drawn-out divorce, it’s important to remember that the courts are best equipped to protect your rights and the rights of your child. Courts are more than happy to let you move towards a standard child support arrangement, and most will walk you through the process quickly.
In fact, you don’t have to live with this kind of mortgage arrangement if it’s not working for you. Most courts are more than happy to help you get the child support that you are owed, even if you initially agreed to something else. The law is standardized for a reason and courts generally feel more comfortable working within your state’s guidelines than some kind of arrangement that you and your former spouse made. The process may be more involved than you like, but it is entirely possible to get out of arrangements that are harmful to the welfare of your child.
If your ex asks to pay the mortgage instead of child support, you must realize that this is a situation in which you hold the power. If you really feel like this is a better idea, you can accept this compromise. If you do not, however, there’s no one who can force you into accepting this solution. Standard child support agreements exist for a reason, and you don’t have to find yourself a victim of someone else’s preferences. If you want to make sure your child gets what he or she deserves, it’s usually better for you to seek out a standard agreement. No matter what you choose, though, remember to run it past a good attorney. He or she can help you to make an informed decision that will better suit your future.