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Most Alimony Obligations Are Of A Short Duration, But Child Support Lasts Until The Children Reach Adulthood

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In some marriages, one spouse has a much higher earning capacity than the other.  If the parties were married for a brief period and did not have children together, then the principle of equitable (fair) distribution requires the court to divide the parties’ assets so that each spouse’s financial situation is similar to what it was before the parties married; if one spouse would be destitute without alimony, the court may order alimony for a period of time that does not exceed the length of the marriage.  When the parties have children together, things get more complicated.  Regardless of how the divorce court divides marital assets between the spouses, the child support guidelines require payments that enable the children to maintain a similar standard of living regardless of which parent they are with.  Therefore, when there is a large income disparity between the parents, the wealthier parent’s child support obligations may increase after alimony ends.  If you and your ex-spouse have a large disparity in income and are at odds over child support, contact a Boca Raton child support lawyer.

When the Wealthier Spouse Bears the Sole Responsibility for the Children’s Private School Tuition

Early in their marriage, Julie and Erik both worked.  In Julie’s job as an auditor, her net income was about $8,000 per month, while Erik’s net income in his retail job was about $1,200.  When the parties’ older child was born in 2011, the parties agreed that Erik would leave the workforce to be a stay-at-home parent.  When Julie and Erik separated in 2017, Erik was still out of the workforce, and both children were past infancy.

Erik estimated that his monthly expenses were $2,006 and that the highest paying jobs he could get paid a similar rate to the job he held before the children were born.  Therefore, the court ordered Julie to pay Erik $800 per month for five years.  Both before and after the term of the alimony ended, Julie was also responsible for paying $3,600 per month in child support.  (The court decision did not specify how many days per year the children spent with each parent.)

Meanwhile, Julie made what the court described as a “unilateral decision” to enroll the children in private school, although the court decision makes it sound like Erik did not object.  The court did not require Erik to contribute any money to the children’s tuition.  In this case, as in others, the court regarded private school tuition as a discretionary expense.  In other words, the court did not reduce Julie’s child support obligations simply because she was paying the children’s tuition; conversely, the court does factor in which parent pays for children’s health insurance when determining child support awards.

Contact an Attorney for Help

A child support lawyer can help you resolve disputes over which of children’s expenses are needs and which ones are wants.  Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation.

Resource:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=808872571889645780&q=Julie+Erik+Johnson&hl=en&as_sdt=4,10

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