Determining proper amounts of spousal and child support is a critical task for family courts even under normal circumstances. While most low and middle income cases will simply involve plugging in the parties’ income into an automated computer program, high income cases can be far less straightforward. In cases where divorcing spouses have considerable assets or high incomes, these formulas are oftentimes not the best tool to yield a fair and appropriate amount of support.
Calculating High-Asset Child Support
When a spouse paying child support has an income level that is disproportionately high, or has many high-value assets, it can lead to an unfair financial windfall for the non-paying spouse. Due to this issue, many judges will take this disparity into account when determining an appropriate amount of support.
In addition to the parents’ incomes, courts will also consider the following:
- The number of children needing support
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent
- The tax liabilities of each parent
- Whether the parents have additional children from other relationships
- The child’s health insurance costs
- Other costs of raising the child
For some high-income families, even a level of child support that is higher than what some moderate-level income families may consider to be appropriate may not be enough to sustain the same standard of living that the child experienced while their parents were still married. For example, if a child were to attend an exclusive private school, frequently travel, or participate in a competitive sport or hobby while their parents were together, the custodial parent may be able to pursue a much higher support amount in order to continue to fund a similar lifestyle.
Spousal Support for High-Income Cases
Determining an appropriate amount of spousal support, also known as “alimony,” can be similarly complex. This amount will partially be influenced by several factors, including:
- The amount of child support paid
- The lengthy of the marriage
- The lifestyle experienced during the marriage
- How much money each spouse could reasonably earn each month
- Reasonable expenses going forward for both parties
Regardless of the circumstances, given the high-stakes financial consequences that the outcome can bring, it is essential that spouses retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure their rights are protected. If you are involved in a high-asset divorce, contact Ross Family Law, P.C. today. With personalized counsel and effective legal strategies, our Pleasanton divorce attorneys can guide you and your spouse towards an amicable and fair resolution.
Call (925) 308-9920 or fill out an online form today to schedule your initial case review.