Most people in California are familiar with the concept of a family law judge setting a child support amount for divorcing parents. While support agreements do require court approval, parents who are in the midst of a divorce are still generally capable for crafting their own arrangement. Here are two options for doing just that.

An alternative dispute resolution is a good middle ground for parents who need guidance, but do not want to go to court. Both mediation and collaborative family law are good examples of an ADR that can help parents achieve their child support goals. These processes typically involve both parents, their respective attorneys and an impartial third party all working towards an agreement. The mediators will not issue a final decision on the matter, but they will guide the parents through the discussions until they reach their own conclusion.

Negotiations are another option for staying out of court. Depending on the situation, negotiations may involve only the parents. Others prefer to have their attorneys present through the process. The biggest difference between negotiations and ADR is the presence of an impartial third party; however, the end goal is still that of an agreeable child support settlement.

Child support is a tricky issue to deal with during divorce. California parents generally still want their children to be financially secure, but they also want to be certain that they are not paying too much or too little. This can make using mediation or negotiation preferable to leaving child support matters up to a judge, who may not fully understand each person’s individual situation.