An appellate court in the state of New York recently handed down a decision in a fascinating case examining whether a millionaire father who has custody of his child for the majority of the year should be required to pay child support to the child’s mother who has a far lower income.
In 2003, Anthony D. and Mara R. had a son together, but did not get married or live together at any point in time. The couple ultimately split in 2007 with Mara R. assuming primary custody of the child via an informal arrangement.
Two years later, she sought to secure child support, and both sole legal and physical custody in a court of law. The presiding judge ultimately granted Mara R. custody of the child during the summer and Anthony D. custody during the school year.
As for the request for child support, Anthony D. filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he couldn’t be ordered to pay child support under New York’s Child Support Standards Act of 1989 since he was technically considered the parent with primary physical custody.
The presiding judge ultimately denied the motion, stating that the parents had “parallel legal custody,” and that she had the ability to order child support payments due to the couple’s widely differing incomes and Mara R.’s need for funds to help pay her rent. (Anthony D. has nearly $20 million in assets while Mara R. has a $6,000 monthly income, $5,000 of which came from Anthony D.’s child support.)
Anthony D. subsequently appealed to the Appellate Division, First Department, where the decision regarding the payment of child support was overturned by a divided court. Here, the majority reasoned that Anthony D. clearly did not fit the definition of non-custodial parent under state law as he had custody of his son for approximately 56 percent of the year.
“[Based on the] plain language of the Child Support Standards Act, its legislative history, and its interpretation by the Court of Appeals, a custodial parent who has the child a majority of the time cannot be directed to pay child support to a non-custodial parent,” reads the opinion.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about child support or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Millionaire parent doesn’t have to pay child support: appeals court,” Jessica Dye, April 18, 2013