Why is child support sometimes clearly more than the child needs? | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Why is child support sometimes clearly more than the child needs?

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How can it be fair for child support to clearly be more than is necessary to meet the child's needs?

If you happen to be the parent paying support, it may certainly seem unfair. However, in some income brackets, it isn't exactly an uncommon situation -- it has to do with how child support is calculated and the ultimate goal of the support payments.

If you want to understand how this happens, you need to understand what the court is trying to accomplish when it determines the support that you pay. In essence, the court is aiming to keep the child's environment as steady as possible -- and that means making sure that the child's lifestyle is consistent with what he or she would have had if the parents had remained married. That may end up putting a heavier financial burden on the paying parent than he or she expects, especially if the custodial parent has been a stay-at-home parent for a number of years or generally has less income to contribute toward the calculations.

Since the custodial parent is using the child support payments toward things like shelter, food and transportation, that often means that his or her lifestyle benefits from the support as well. That's a perfectly legitimate result, especially in situations where the paying parent has a considerable amount of wealth.

It's also important to understand how the court determines what your income actually is for the purposes of support. The court will consider all of the income a parent has from any source, not just what is shown on a tax return. For example, investment income may not be taxable if you typically reinvest it, but it's considered when your child support is calculated. If you own a business, the court will look at your expenses and see what might actually be considered personal expenses run through the business for your convenience. That money also gets added back into your income stream when the child support calculation is made.

Keep in mind that every situation is different. If you believe the child support order is excessive, your attorney can present your case to the judge and ask for a reasonable modification. As long as your child's lifestyle can be preserved, the court may allow it.

Source: The Huffington Post, "California Child Support: The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered," Fred Silberberg, accessed May 19, 2017

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