Child Support Laws Encourage Abuse Of Wealthy

New Jersey residents may be interested to learn of some large child support orders entered by courts recently. Actor Charlie Sheen is paying $50,000 per month to his estranged wife for two children that, in fact, live with Sheen’s first wife, Denise Richards. The money is his wife’s sole source of income; Sheen’s lawyers argue that this is the sole reason the mother is seeking to return the children to her care. Thus, she is receiving more money each month than most Americans make in a year for the care and support of children that do not live with her. The fact that she has been in and out of rehab suggests that not all of the money is going to support the children, which raises questions about the system.

Similarly, a court recently ordered a wealthy businessman to pay $100,000 per month in child support, even after testing revealed that the child is not biologically related to him. Actress Halle Barry is reportedly paying $240,000 per year in child support to her ex-boyfriend.

The problem with these large awards is that they offer people an incentive to target the wealthy. Those who do not wish to work may be able to make a living off a former partner, simply by having a child with someone who makes a significant income. No one verifies that the money is actually spent on the children.

New Jersey law calculates support based on the incomes of both parents. A family law attorney may be able to help parents agree to a fair support amount or agree that amounts that exceed the child’s reasonable needs be paid into college accounts or a trust for the child.

Source: The Root, “Child-Support Laws: A Boon for Gold Diggers?”, Keli Goff, May 22, 2013