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Are there alternative child support plans for high-wage earners?

Child support payments are often a source of contention between parents, but when we think of child support battles, it is usually in the context of parents who are scraping to get by. The other end of the income spectrum is also prone to its share of child support disagreements. While many states have differing statutes when it comes to the precise details of determining child support, the very laws that are intended to create equality among child supporters often place what some feel is an undue burden on the incomes of the wealthy.

For example, many states require that a parent to pay $1,500 plus 5 percent of all income that exceeds $120,000 in a calendar year. To those who exist in lower and middle class income brackets, these guidelines may seem as though they are on the slight end, but to those who are earning millions a year, the sums can begin to feel unnecessary. For instance, an individual who has a yearly income of $3 million is shouldered with a child support obligation of roughly $150,000 per year. This much money is surely covering a single child's needs many times over.

Some courts are open to considering alternatives to paying this relatively enormous sum directly to the parent with primary custody. In such cases, the actual child support amount is reduced and then typically supplemented with a certain sum being placed in a trust for the child in question. This is aimed to ensure that the funds that are necessary to care for the child go to the child instead of supplementing a lifestyle for the primary custody parent. The remaining amount sent to the trust is then available to the child when he or she ages out of the child support system, keeping the child the focus of the support.

No loving parent is interested in keeping good things out of reach of his or her child, but it is not fair to expect a former spouse to pay well above what is needed to care for the child, simply because he or she happens to be wealthy. These matters are of course delicate and controversial, and rightly so. Anyone interested in exploring alternative child support options will find that the guidance of an experienced attorney can help ensure that the child remains at the heart of any child support negotiation.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Do Wealthy People Go By Different Standards When it Comes to Child Support?," Stann GIvens, accessed Oct. 19, 2016

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