Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Child Support In High Income Cases

In an aptly named case, Rich v. Rich, a mother and a wealthy father argued over child support wherein father admitted to earning approximately $10,000,000 per year and owning approximately $40,000,000 in assets. (Yes, that is millions!) At the trial level, the support awards ranged from approximately $32,000 per month from the conference officer, to approximately $9,000 per month from the master and approximately $15,000 per month from the judge. This case originated out of Schuylkill County.

Basically, mother complained that she could not duplicate the amenities and extravagances that father could afford when he had custody of the children. Apparently, father’s home, the previous marital home, is worth between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 and is located on 150 acres of land. The property includes a 10,000 square foot home as well as an Olympic size indoor swimming pool, a barn, farmhouse, treehouse, a stream and pond for fishing and a recreational area for all terrain vehicles and camping. After the separation, mother apparently purchased a home worth approximately $725,000 which is a marked reduction in lifestyle.

Both mother and father appealed to the Superior Court on a variety of grounds, including the calculation of the support based on mother’s reasonable needs, emancipation of one of the children and the lifestyle issues the children enjoy at each parent’s residence. In this twenty-two page Opinion, the court reviewed the case law that guides in these high income cases. To review the Opinion in its entirety, click here. Even though father could have afforded much more, the court placed limits on mother’s support, tying it to the reasonable needs of her and the children.


Anonymous said...

In high income child support cases involving professional athletes, are the non custodial's assets considered when making the determination?

Currently, I receive child support from a professinal athlete and the amount was based on his income. However, he has threatened me with modification as soon as he retires which will be next year.

Will the courts consider is over 6 million in assets before reducing my monthly amount?


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