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Child support calculations can be complex for high earners

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Firm News |

Like other states, New York uses child support guidelines that judges are supposed to follow when deciding how much support each parent is responsible for.

These Child Support Guidelines are supposed to make sure that both parents get treated fairly. They also ensure that the courts in Queens and the rest of the City are consistent when ordering child support so that the amount one pays does not depend solely on the judge.

In practice, for many divorce and family law cases, figuring out child support is a relatively straightforward process. However, for high-earners, the process can get more complicated and can even lead to some contention.

Judges have more discretion in high income cases

When parents who intend to live apart make more than $143,000 a year, the courts have some flexibility to deviate from simply ordering support based on a percentage of a parent’s income. They may use other factors to set an appropriate amount of child support.

While for many families $143,000 might seem like a lot, to put it in perspective, if two divorcing spouses are both established professionals like doctors, their combined income can easily exceed $143,000 a year.

In other words, one need not be a celebrity, business tycoon or professional athlete to exceed the $143,000 a year threshold.

What this means is that the couple will have more room to argue about how much child support is appropriate to maintain a consistent standard of living for the children involved.

For higher earners, income may be harder to calculate

Another factor in support cases involving high earners is that, oftentimes, those with a lot of income are getting all or at least some of it from a number of sources.

For instance, many higher earners receive business income or income from other investments. Investments can conclude a range of items, such as rental income from real estate or regular dividends on stocks or other accounts.

Figuring out a person’s actual income from a business or investments is more complicated than simply looking at one’s paystub or even tax return.