Thursday, January 25, 2007

How Should Child Support Be Determined For The Really Rich?

There was a recent article in the newspaper about a prominent Florida attorney who had his child support obligation for his twin girls reduced from $28,000.00 per month to $5,000.00. Mr. Gary, the subject of the article, was estimated to make $1,000,000.00 per month and his original child support obligation was based on that income. However, after a hearing, a Judge reduced Mr. Gary's child support amount because of the mother's spending habits and her lack of a job.

In most states, monthly child support obligations are based on a formula. In Florida, the total net income for both parents is assigned a monthly child support amount and the obligor is responsible for a portion of that amount based on what percentage his/her net income is in comparison to the parties' total net income. The formula has a total net income topping out at $10,000.00 per month, therefore, the question then becomes, how do we determine how much child support someone should receive when net incomes are greater than $10,000.00 per month? Some people argue that it should just be a percentage of a person's monthly net income. Other people believe that you should look at the totality of the circumstances and then assign a number. Truth be told, there is no good way to determine the right amount of child support for the super rich. What I think needs to be done in order insure that child support, no matter what the amount, goes to the proper parties (meaning the children), is to monitor where the funds ultimately end up, especially in cases where a child support award is thousands of dollars per month. If a person is buying mink coats and paying for fancy dinners with money that he/she has been awarded as child support, it seems clear that this type of abuse should be punished. I don't necessarily believe that the punishment should be a reduced child support award. Ultimately, child support awards should be reflective of the earnings of both parties, however, when child support is not being used for its intended purpose, something needs to be done to force the obligee to use the funds received for their proper earmarked purposes, or suffer penalties and fines.

If you would like to read the article in its entirety about Mr. Gary, it can be found at:

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