What do you have in common with a billionaire businessman and owner of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent you may ask? Well if your combined income exceeds $300,000.00, like businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, a judge may have broad discretion to determine what amount of child support is reasonable in your case. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Looking to Raise a Child on $47,000.00 a month” by Sophia Hollander, reported that millionaire model Linda Evangelista is seeking about $560,000.00 a year in Manhattan Family Court as child support for her five year old son.
North Carolina, like New York, grants judges broad discretion to determine child support in cases where the parties’ income exceeds guideline amounts. In these cases, North Carolina courts must determine the reasonable needs of the child. Specifically, “payments ordered for the support of a minor shall be in an amount as to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, having due regard to the estates, earnings, conditions, and accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties….” N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.4 (2012). However, “reasonable” is a relative word. Many would consider a monthly request for $47,000.00 to be excessive for child support. In North Carolina, judges may use their own discretion to determine if an expense is excessive. Accordingly, in North Carolina expenses related to private school, domestic help, and vacation homes may be excluded from a child’s reasonable expense notwithstanding that the child may have enjoyed these amenities throughout the marriage. For parties seeking child support in high income cases it is important to remember that judges may be concerned that a request for child support is really alimony is disguise. Therefore, before offering evidence of detailed expenses it is important to isolate child expenses from other family expenses in high child support cases.
Contributor: Carole Gailor
Carole S. Gailor, a Raleigh Family Law Attorney is a North Carolina Board Certified Family Law Specialist with the Raleigh, North Carolina Divorce Law Firm of Gailor & Hunt, P.L.L.C. For more information contact: Raleigh, North Carolina Family Law Firm, Gailor & Hunt at 1101 Haynes Street, Suite 201, Raleigh, N.C. 27604. Tel: 919-670-2925.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended as a general guide and is not to be used as legal advice by Gailor & Hunt, PLLC. You may contact North Carolina Family Lawyers Gailor & Hunt, PLLC, a full service divorce law firm, at 919-670-2925 or 910-509-7223.