How Does a High Income Affect Child Support?
High Income Support
Typically, Massachusetts child support is calculated using the state child support guidelines. These guidelines rely heavily on the parents’ income to determine how much the child support obligation is. Thus, child support is proportional to income, up until a certain income level. While the state recognizes that children have a right to benefit from their parent’s success, the child support guidelines have a maximum income limit that they can apply to. Child support is only meant to pay for the reasonable and necessary costs of raising a child, and exorbitant child support orders aren’t necessarily in the best interests of the child.
To ensure the guidelines are effective, they can only dictate how much child support will be ordered when the parents’ combined available annual gross income is up to $250,000. When the parents’ combined available income is more than $250,000 per year, the judge will apply the guidelines to the first $250,000 that is subject to them. The child support obligation calculated off of the first $250,000 in income is the minimum presumptive child support order. The judge may then make a discretionary decision on a deviation from that amount after considering all relevant factors, such as:
- Whether the child has special needs
- Whether the child has extraordinary medical expenses
- The child’s educational and extra-curricular activity costs
- The difference in standard of living between the two parents’ homes
If the minimum presumptive child support order amount is insufficient to meet the child’s needs and make him or her comfortable in both homes, the judge may increase the amount.
Although the judge will make a decision that is in the best interests of your child, you should discuss the matter with your spouse to see if you can come to an agreement beforehand. State child support guidelines are helpful when determining base child support, but parents with high incomes may want to consult with a divorce mediator before heading to court. A knowledgeable Massachusetts mediator can help you and your spouse calculate your base child support obligation and negotiate an agreement on a deviation if needed. Mediation is a great venue in which high-income parents can amicably work through complex divorce issues including alimony, property division, and parenting time schedules.
If you have questions about child support calculations, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can provide you with the information and guidance needed to agree on a child support deviation with your spouse. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.