Child Support: January 2008 Archives

January 9, 2008

When It Comes to Child Support, How Much is Too Much?

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Every state has its own guidelines for child support--when parents separate, they use each parent's income and the amount of time they spend with the children to calculate how much support should be paid. But is there such a thing as an income too high to measure child support obligations? Billionaire Donald Bren thinks there is. The Los Angeles Times reports that Bren refuses to disclose his income or other financial information. His two children say that under California guidelines, support should be approximately $2.2 million each. The rules base child support on the parents' income in order for the children to share the same standard of living as their wealthier parent. Bren says the court should determine the amount that would accomplish that, and he'll pay it, and thus it's not necessary to give the court financial information.

The fact is, state child support guidelines aren't designed for the super-wealthy, but for regular people. At the same time, rules are rules, and unless Mr. Bren can show a good reason why his financial information should be protected, the court's likely to decide he should make the same disclosures that everyone else is required to make. If he wants to get a ballpark of what he might be required to pay, he can use one of the free child support calculators available on the Web.