Circuit court reasonably exercised its discretion when it imposed child support under the straight percentage formula and ordered mother to pay all variable expenses where parties had engaged in substantial litigation.
Providing an apartment, phone service, cable television, cleaning, travel expenses, a leased vehicle and a per diem, plus payment of the “gross up” that he would have pay for taxes are not legitimate business expenses and therefore should be included in income for child support.
Unless the court deviates from the percentage guidelines, it must set family support at an amount that results in a net payment after taxes of no less than the child support calculated under the guidelines.
Trial court had discretionary authority to not apply shared time formula where it recognized the potential for future litigation over variable expenses. Trial court also correctly concluded that placement until 7 p.m. does not constitute “equivalent care”. Equivalent care must be something of substance – not just an evening meal.
(a) Sunday placement until 7:30 p.m. is not the equivalent to overnight care. (b) Disparity in disposable incomes does not in and of itself make the application of the percentage standards unfair. However, trial court was required to perform an analysis of the relevant statutory factors.
Trial court erred by ordering husband to pay half of child care expenses without finding a deviation from the standards.
Court had an erroneous understanding the shared-time formula. The court cannot order parties to split variable costs as an alternative to ordering child support.
Court must state in writing or on the record why the use of the percentage standards would be unfair and the reasons for the deviation.
The shared-time formula is part of the presumptive percentage standard where the payer has the requisite number of overnights or the equivalent.
Court properly applied shared time placement formula. (fn. 2 at 190). Trial court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in imputing retirement benefits to wife for purposes of child support.
Standards are presumptive, not mandatory. Court need not consider all statutory factors, only those relevant to whether a deviation is warranted. Trial court properly deviated from standards based on unique circumstances of the case, including ability to pay.
Trial court properly exercised its discretion in shared time place where the court did not base support on a fixed number of additional overnight equivalents.
Court properly found that it would be unfair to include vacation trips, awarded to father by his employer, in gross income as the trips could not be readily converted into cash and do not enhance the payor’s financial means to make child support payments.
Court erred in imputing income from farmhouse, as father does not have control over the house. Similarly, the court erred in including his share of undistributed partnership profits, as he does not have authority to unilaterally mange the partnership. However, the court properly included the partnership payments of health insurance premiums for his benefit, as the constitute gross income under the federal tax code.
Trial court affirmed for determining that payor did not meet his burden of proof that use of the standards was unfair where payee’s income ($114,516) exceeded payor’s income ($108,384) and there was a significant disparity on disposal income after support.
(1) Trial court erred in deviating from standards because of lack of knowledge of child’s existence and consequent inability to provide for or visit with child. This is not a statutory factor. (2) Trial court erred in using marital property law to determine payor’s income. (3) Trial court erred in deducting depreciation from gross income (4) Trial court should have considered possible imputed farm income.
Trial court properly exercised its discretion in not applying guidelines in modification hearing where the support ordered was sufficient to support the children and any additional amount would have been maintenance in the guise of support.
Trial court affirmed for setting child support to husband under guidelines taking account husband’s earning capacity, wife having placement fifty percent of the time and wife providing health insurance for the children.
Application of percentage standards in high income case was within court’s discretion to fashion an order serving the best interests of the child.
In a case of a high-income payee, the percentage standards presumptively apply, absent payor’s showing of unfairness.