Child support disputes may arise from a number of different situations. Child support may be sought by a single mother who is struggling to raise her children on her own. It may be ordered by the family court as the result of a divorce proceeding. In other cases, a parent may request a change in the amount of child support, even if an amount was finalized years earlier. This usually occurs when a parent receives a pay increase or changes jobs.
Many individuals are under the impression that they must use the court system to request or make changes to child support payments. Fortunately, this is not the case. Many parties in the Houston area have instead used child support mediation to resolve child support issues.
During child support mediation, a mediator assists the parties with reaching middle ground in their dispute and creating an agreement that will become enforceable by the family courts. Mediation provides an outlet for the parties to express their concerns and explain their reasoning for why they want child support to be calculated a certain way. For example, if one party cannot understand why the other party is seeking $1000 in child support per month, the party seeking child support may bring documentation to mediation that supports such a request. Resolving this dispute in the family courts would cost the parties several thousand dollars and possibly take several months to complete.
In child support mediation, the parties are free to deviate from standard child support calculations if they wish. Family courts use a certain formula to determine child support, but the parties may not agree with this number. If one party wishes to provide additional support, the parties may agree to this new amount—a luxury the family courts may not be able to provide.