Many people are surprised to find out that their separation agreement can be superseded by a judge. Agreement terms regarding spousal support and property division are generally set in stone once a separation agreement is properly executed.
However, child custody and child support provisions are never set in stone. The court always has the power to modify the parents’ agreement regarding custody and child support. The parents’ agreement will typically be presumed to be the best decision for the children. However, if one party is able to show that the custody and child support provisions are no longer in the child’s best interest, then the court can dictate a new custody and/or child support arrangement.
So, the answer is that the court will give deference to custody and child support agreements between parents, but ultimately retains the power to override them.
This is an important idea to keep in mind when negotiating a separation agreement.