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How Does Your Income Level Affect a Custody Case?

Posted by Mattis Law, A.P.C. on April 15, 2022 in Child Custody

counting money

Decisions regarding child custody are made by the court based on what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. The income of each parent also plays a role in the court’s decision. While a parent with significant financial resources offers a child more opportunities, the financial status of the parent will have more of an impact on court decisions regarding child and spousal support than in decisions regarding child custody. 

Child Custody in High-Net-Worth Cases

It is widely known that a child is more likely to flourish when both parents are involved in child-raising, with some exceptions. Issues such as the mental and physical health of each parent, any drug or alcohol problems, evidence of domestic abuse, and other factors will impact the decision of the court. A parent’s ability to provide a safe, supportive home environment is of the greatest importance in how the court reaches a final decision on a child custody matter.

Disparity in Income Between Parents

If one parent can provide significantly more in financial resources, the court may require the higher income earning parent to pay child support that allows the child to continue to have the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. If one parent was the primary caregiver, and the other was the primary income earner, it may be decided that the parent who cared for the child will continue to do so and may be awarded the right to continue to live in the family home. Every case is decided on an individual basis, focused on ensuring the child’s best interests above all.

Claims of Abuse or Neglect

If one parent believes the other parent poses a danger to the mental, emotional, or physical health of a child, evidence must be presented to the court. The types of evidence that could be presented include police reports regarding abuse, video evidence, testimony from mental health professionals, childcare experts, and friends or associates of the parent.

Will the Wealthier Parent Win Custody?

Every case is unique. In some cases, the wealthier parent is awarded custody, but the decision is not solely based on finances. A parent who may have abandoned a child (for however long) or has made life decisions that had a negative impact on the child’s health and welfare, custody may be awarded to the higher income earning parent. In other cases, the wealthier parent was less involved in rearing a child and establishing the facts can allow the lower income earning parent to be awarded custody.

Best Interests of the Child

The “best interests of the child” refer to a parent’s ability to provide a home environment that protects the child’s health, welfare, and overall well-being. A child can suffer emotional issues when the parents are divorcing, particularly if the breakup is acrimonious. Maintaining a stable environment can be helpful to the child during the transition. In some cases, it may be decided that it is in the best interests of the child to continue to live in the family home and go to the same school.

Prenuptial Agreements and Child Custody in California

Under California law, a prenuptial agreement cannot limit the issues of child support, child rights, or child custody. If a prenuptial agreement includes these matters, they will be disregarded when making a court decision regarding the custody of a child, and the support paid by either parent.

Best Case Scenario

Working out a mutually agreeable parenting plan, sharing custody whether with two homes or visitation is considered the best scenario, but in a contentious custody case, may not be possible. When the two parents are unable to agree on custody, the court will decide. The quality and experience of your child custody attorney could not be more important. At Mattis Law, A.P.C., our attorneys are known for tackling challenging cases that many other law firms can’t handle. We have an excellent record in achieving favorable outcomes in cases of parental alienation, move-away cases, child custody cases and all financial matters in high-asset cases.

Call (858) 328-4400 for a free initial consultation about a high-net-worth child custody case in San Diego or the surrounding communities. 

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Posted in: Child Custody

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