This is one of the questions I’m asked most often by women facing the prospect of divorce: “How can you help me provide for my children?”
In important ways.
Let me be candid: In the majority of the cases I handle, it’s not a matter of “Will the kids be able to eat?” The divorcing husbands often have very lucrative jobs, so it’s not like the kids will starve.
It’s more a matter of providing a proper, and equitable, balance between the two households—the mother’s and the father’s—post-divorce.
It’s also a matter of dealing with those pesky Arizona guidelines for child support.
Did I say “guidelines”? Well, they’re actually laws.
Did I say “pesky”? Well, they actually suck.
The state of Arizona—and we’re not alone in this, um, suckiness—decrees, in its infinite wisdom, that child support is worth about $500 a month, per child, after splitting it between spouses. And even less if, say, the husband is paying for the health insurance. More like $300 a month.
Three-hundred dollars a month… even if the husband is making, say, a million dollars a year.
I’m not exaggerating. That’s the amount in a case I’m working on right now.
It’s not that the dad hates his kids. But he’s not feeling exactly generous when it comes to supporting his ex-.
Lobster vs. beans
What if you’re getting, say, $300 a month per kid, plus alimony (a.k.a. spousal maintenance,) which, incidentally, counts against the child-support amounts (Thanks again, Arizona), and your ex- is still living the grand lifestyle? How does that affect the kids—and you—when the parenting duties are split?
Correction: I often see the husband opt for a beyond-grand lifestyle, post-divorce. He’s got the high-paying job. The new girlfriend. So when the kids go to his place, he’s not just the Disneyland Dad, he’s the Euro-Disneyland Dad.
Back to the state of Arizona: The guidelines cap the husband’s income which can be applied toward child support at $20,000 a month. Some quick math:
$500 a month is 2.5 percent of that.
But if this husband is making a million a year, the $500 a month is 0.6 percent of that.
Helping your attorney help you
This is where I come in. There’s what’s called a “child-support deviation” that can be crafted in Arizona; it’s where you can make the case, either at mediation or even at trial, that the kids have been living beyond the state-mandated lifestyle level, and it would be unfair to suddenly subject them to a huge shock on the mother’s side. Thus the “deviation” from the standard guidelines.
Attorneys are busy enough with the legal aspects of the case. And they certainly won’t ask for a deviation unless they’re armed with killer info to help them negotiate for one.
Ta-dah. This is where I earn my keep.
It’s actually just one of many ways. You should see how much I can help you get on the proper financial footing after your divorce, too.
Contact me today. Let me help you through this.