You already know that you must likely pay your former spouse child support, but you do not know the specific amount. What factors determine how much you must pay?
Turn to Forbes for the answers you need to create a post-divorce budget. Being well-informed helps set you and your shared children up for success.
Potential earning capacity
The court may look back further than your current employment when deciding your child support amount. Say that you currently work as a full-time barista, but you earned a Ph.D. and once had a high-paying job for several years in the academic sector during the first years of your marriage. Rather than determine your regular child support payment according to your current income, a judge may instead base the amount on the salary earned from your lucrative job.
Maybe your family supported you during your marriage with a substantial monthly allowance. If so, the court may impute that amount as income and consider it during support calculations.
Income tax returns
You may already know that the court looks at recent income tax returns to determine your child support payments, but did you know the court may look for unclaimed money? Anyone who drives an expensive car, sends their kids to a prestigious private school and has a few vacation homes but claims to only make $60,000 a year may face intense legal scrutiny.
Prepare for the court to dig through your salary, carried interest, partnership distributions and all other forms of earned income and compensation. If you have investments, the court may consider their dividends when calculating your payments.
Start framing your financial health around future child support payments. Being proactive may help you keep up with your post-divorce obligations.