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Co-Parenting Without Child Support Payments: Is It Really Possible?


Have you ever driven past the luxurious hotels of South Beach or glimpsed the Star Island mansions as you took an exit off of I-95 and wondered how different life must be for the one percent?  It is true that the details of high net worth divorce often turn out differently than they do for divorce among the 99 percent, but the laws governing parents’ responsibilities toward their minor children apply to everyone, regardless of income level.  Just as the children’s best interest is the underlying principle in all decisions about parenting plans, child support decisions are first and foremost about the children’s needs.  If both parents have sufficient means to provide for the children without help from the other parent, then it is possible that the court will not order any child support to be paid and will simply hold each parent financially responsible for his or her own parenting time.  While this scenario is permissible under the law, in practice it happens very rarely; most divorced parents, no matter how wealthy, must pay or receive some child support until their children reach adulthood.  A South Florida child support lawyer can help ensure that your child support obligations are fair and reasonable.

Does a Trust Fund Replace Child Support?

Eugene and Jill Crouch filed for divorce in 2000, when they were both in their late 40s and had two sons who were in their early teens.  Eugene was a physician whose annual income was $132,000, while Jill’s income came from her family and her parents’ businesses; she got over $700,000 per year.  When Eugene and Jill divorced, they entered a parenting plan in which the children would divide their time equally between both parents.

Florida law has set out guidelines for calculating child support based on the parties’ income and expenses; there are even special provisions for families so affluent that following the guidelines to the letter would lead to child support payments in excess of $10,000 per month.  When a court orders an amount of child support that differs from the amount specified in the guidelines by more than five percent, the judge must provide an explanation in the court order for why he or she ordered a different amount.

In this case, the children were beneficiaries of a trust set up by Jill’s parents.  On appeal, Eugene requested that Jill pay him child support because of the vast difference between the parties’ incomes; her income was more than four times his income.  The appeals court affirmed that trial court’s decision not to order child support, because Eugene’s financial resources were sufficient to meet the children’s needs during his parenting time.  The children’s needs are the most important factor in child support decisions, not the parents’ income.

Let Us Help you Today

If you and your ex-spouse can both afford to raise your children without child support payments, a Boca Raton child support lawyer may be able to persuade the court that your ex does not need financial support from you in order to fulfill the children’s needs.  Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation.




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