If you are required to pay child support pursuant to a Court Order, you should not rely on oral agreements to modify support. In the event you and the payee reach an agreement to modify or eliminate your support obligation, the same should be reduced to writing in a formal Stipulation and Order. That Stipulation and Order must be signed by both parties or their attorneys and submitted to the Court for the Judge’s signature and filing. If you do this, you should state in the Stipulation that all support through that date is current and that thereafter, the new support obligation will be “$X”.
Parents who fail to follow these steps may later be forced to pay hundreds or thousands in back child support, because child support orders generally are not retroactively modifiable. I have recently had several clients who had informal agreements with an ex that no support would be paid (usually for some other consideration or because the payor’s income has been materially reduced), but the agreement was not made a formal Order. When the ex discovers he or she can go collect the back child support, plus interest and penalties, you can find yourself owing thousands.
Anyone paying support should keep careful record of each payment, so in the event your ex alleges you haven’t paid, you can provide written proof of payment in full to the Court. Setting up an automatic monthly transfer of child support through your bank account is a good way to ensure all payments are timely and documented.