One of the biggest concerns for San Diego parents going through a divorce is the amount of child support they may be ordered to pay. This is especially worrisome for high-income earners who want to provide for their children but believe the amount of child support ordered could be excessive and unnecessary.
Child support guidelines
California courts determine child support based on the state’s child support guidelines. The guidelines lay out a numeric formula and factors such as the number of children involved and the income of both parents.
However, the child support statute contains an exception to the guidelines for high-income earners. The exception states that if one parent provides evidence that they have an extraordinarily high income and the amount of child support determined exceeds the needs of the children, the amount could be reduced.
You must show evidence of your income
If your high salary results in a child-support order that you believe exceeds the children’s basic needs, you can use this exception to argue that the amount is unjust or inappropriate under your circumstances. Be prepared to show the court clear evidence of your income. There is no set number under the law that qualifies an income as “extraordinarily high.”
Your spouse may try arguing that the higher child support amount is necessary to meet the children’s needs or allow them to maintain the same lifestyle they are used to. To justify needing the higher amount, they will have to produce documented evidence of expenses and other child-related costs.
A court order for child support that deviates from the standard guidelines must state what the original child support amount would have been under the formula. It must also state the reasons that any new amount differs from the guideline amount and why the new amount is in the best interests of the children.
Every child support case is different and based on the specific facts of the situation. An experienced family law attorney can provide advice tailored to your circumstances.