Published on:

San Mateo Family Law Attorney Talks About Public Policy and Settlements

San Mateo Family Law Attorney Talks About Public Policy and Settlements

When a couple begins or is going through a divorce, there is one piece of consistent advice that is given. Settle. The couple will hear their attorneys, the judge, and their friends who all tell them to settle as quickly and as soon as possible. To a lawyer and a court, settling is coming to an agreement over issues. The agreement may be a hard fought compromise over a hotly contested point or a tradeoff where each side gets what they really wanted. As a policy, a Court is loathe to interfere with a settlement agreement because the best people to make a decision about their lives are themselves. The Court is ill equipped to consider all factors from a couple’s marriage and life situation to make an extremely tailored agreement that the couple themselves could. For example, the couple may agree to keep the family residence for the next 5 years in hopes of recovering their lost equity which includes a detailed payment schedule for the house. The Court would have just sold the house at a loss to end the fighting.

However, there is one area that the Court’s will not or may not allow the parties to settle. This is in the area of the children. Specifically, the termination of parental rights for child support. A couple, depending on the circumstances, may decide that one parent is going to walk away from the child(ren) of the union. This parties have agreed that it would be best if one parent assume all parenting duties and the other parent surrender all say, control and rights to the child. The usual exchange is that the caring parent will waive any and all child support claims against the other parent. While this is a “settlement” between parties, the Court’s will not or may not approve it because it is against “public policy.”

Public Policy simply means the State’s interest or the Public’s interest. There is no one person who is the State or who is the Public. There is contacting the State or the Public for a discussion. The State or the Public’s interest means that the certain agreement cannot be allowed because the State or the Public do not want people to make such decisions. In this case, the State or Public’s interest is that a creation of a parent-child relationship for both emotional and financial support which includes the parental support of that child trumps any private ordering of parenthood after the birth of the child. In other words, both parties are stuck being that child’s parents. It is against what the State or Public interest to have a child without a parent simply to remove a financial liability. The State or Public’s interest is so overwhelming that parties cannot negotiate away their obligations by contract. Therefore, the parent’s ability to settle on this issue is extremely limited.

If you have a question regarding custody settlements please contact Sagaria Law at 1-800-941-6730 for a free consultation or visit us at Our team of Family Law Attorneys can assist you with all aspects of your case. We have attorneys in San Mateo, Monterey, Fremont, Salinas, Sacramento and San Jose.