Q: If child support is part of a larger divorce, can it be negotiated away in exchange for an asset, like a house?
No. Child support is deemed money that belongs to the child, so parents cannot waive it on any level. Financial negotiations involving things like alimony or property division are in a different category but a parent can never negotiate away another parent’s child support obligations.
Q: Does that apply to the instance where the spouse receiving the child support says that I don’t have to pay anymore?
No, that’s the same thing and the same public policy applies.
The way that parents get around not having an actual child support payment order is that people can have a child support order that says that there won’t be a specific payment from one parent to the other.
In that case, both parents are warranting that the children’s needs are going to be met. So, that assurance in and of itself is a valid child support order. It doesn’t call for anybody to give dollars to anybody, but it is not considered a waiver, either. It is just considered a different set of arrangements to take care of the kids and make sure that the kids get the financial support they are entitled to.
That’s about as close as parents are going to get to something saying one doesn’t have to pay the other child support.