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High child support payments after divorce

Divorcing parents in Minnesota often express concern about child custody and support issues. This is particularly true in a high asset divorce, but can also present issues for parents of more modest means.

One reason for concern and contention over child support payments is that media reports often sensationalize the amounts that celebrities pay to former spouses and partners. For example, actor Mel Gibson pays his former partner $30,000 a month in child support. Some celebrities may pay less, but they have also paid out larger settlements in the form of property division or alimony.

As a result, individuals may fear that they will be asked to make payments that are unreasonable. However, this is not how the law works. State guidelines take into account a variety of factors, including income and parenting time. Because the courts often seek to maintain a child's current standard of living, it is not unusual for the very wealthy to have to pay significant amounts so that their child's lifestyle is consistent in the homes of both parents.

It is also possible for a parent to request a child support or child custody modification that could further reduce payments. Even celebrities have had support payments cut in response to a diminished income. Parents faced with similar situations can present the courts with evidence of their circumstances and ask for an appropriate reduction. Non-custodial parents who have suffered a financial downturn due to an unexpected job loss or medical emergency may want to have the assistance of a family law attorney in seeking such a modification. It is important to remember, however, that a modification will only be prospective in nature and will not affect any past-due amounts.

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