Child Support vs. Parenting Time
The Indiana Supreme Court this week banned agreements that give up parenting time in return for not paying child support.
In the case of Perkinson v. Perkinson, the court found the concept of parents negotiating away parenting time as a means to eliminate the obligation to pay child support is repugnant and contrary to public policy. Attorneys are now required to refuse to be a part of such a discussion and to advise their clients that such a discussion is unacceptable. The court held that extraordinary circumstances must exist to deny parenting time to a parent.
In this case, the parties’ agreement that the father would waive his parenting time in return for not paying child support which agreement was accepted by the trial court was held to be void as a matter of public policy. The only evidence regarding endangerment was the mother’s testimony that the father was verbally abusive and that father threatened to destroy the relationship between the mother and child. The mother did not offer any therapist’s reports or expert testimony to show the parenting time would not be in the child’s best interests.
The court found the mother’s testimony insufficient to support that the child would be endangered by visiting the father.