An Irvine Child Support Attorney from Our Firm Can Assist with Child Support Calculations for High Wealth Families

For high-net-worth parents, child support can present some unique challenges during the divorce process. This is because both (i) one or both parents’ incomes may far exceed the income levels contemplated by California’s Child Support Guidelines, and (ii) one or both parents may wish to address expenses that fall outside of the realm of traditional child support payments. Fortunately, California law addresses these contingencies, and parents who have access to significant financial resources have a number of options for addressing child support and other child-related costs during their divorce. Our Orange County family lawyers will explain all of the guidelines to you and help you address your individual concerns. 

Deviating from California’s Child Support Guidelines for “Extraordinarily High Income”

For most parents, determining their child support obligations is a relatively straightforward matter of applying a formula established under California’s Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”). However, as this formula establishes a direct correlation between parents’ incomes and their child support obligations, for high-earning parents, application of the formula can lead to disproportionate and unnecessary financial responsibilities.

In order to address this issue, the Guidelines provide an exception for parents who earn “extraordinarily high income,” such that, “the amount determined under the formula would exceed the needs of the children.” What constitutes an extraordinarily high income is relative, and must be determined on a case-by-case basis taking into account the family’s total income, lifestyle and child-related expenses.

Providing for Extraordinary Expenses Not Covered by Child Support

Court-mandated child support is intended to cover necessary child-related expenses. This includes things like food, clothing, education, basic entertainment and recreation, and health care insurance premiums. In appropriate circumstances, parents can also establish child support obligations with regard to childcare expenses, uninsured health care costs, travel expenses related to parenting time, and special educational needs.

But, for high-net-worth parents, these types of expenses will often just scratch the surface of the amount of money they spend on their children. Many high-net-worth parents also pay for things like:

  • Private tutoring
  • Private lessons
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Travel sports
  • Live-in childcare care providers
  • Unnecessary items and luxuries

Additionally, many high-net-worth parents choose to send their children to private schools.

These are all costs that may not be covered by the guideline amount. However, during the divorce process, high-net-worth parents can address these costs through other means. Parents have a significant amount of flexibility to structure payment obligations outside of traditional child support, and parents can also utilize trusts and other planning tools to ensure that money for child-related expenses will be available. Ultimately, the key is to avoid focusing on the limitations of California’s Child Support Guidelines, and instead focus on developing an arrangement that meets your needs and those of your children.

Speak with an Orange County High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer at Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about child support or any other issue you will encounter during the divorce process, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with one of our experienced Irvine high-net-worth divorce lawyers in confidence, please call 949-474-0800 or contact us online today.