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Moore-Kutcher Divorce Makes Headlines

The end of the marriage of actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher is putting high-income divorce in the headlines once again.

Ms. Moore, who was formerly married to action star Bruce Willis, was making $12 million per movie at one point in her career. Recently, however, her film roles have been few and far between, although she did have a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated film Margin Call.

Mr. Kutcher, on the other hand, is still collecting residuals from re-runs of That '70s Show and recently earned $7 million for replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.

Most divorces involving high income families don't involve celebrity names or such large incomes. However, high-income divorces do present special legal issues in New Jersey.

Child support issues for wealthy families go way beyond the basics. Judges ruling on claims for child support in high-income families often quote the line that "No child, no matter how wealthy the parents, needs to be provided more than three ponies." The same principal doubtless applies to iPads and Porsches as well, and it means that courts will draw the line somewhere, even when a child is accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle.

For example, a New York court ordered billionaire Ron Perelman to pay $12,825 as monthly support for his four-year-old daughter, although her mother had asked for $132,000. The judge refused to provide enough money for the child to have "any imaginable luxury."

In New Jersey, a family with an income above $150,800 per years is considered an "extreme parental income situation," allowing for modifications of the basic child support award. The basic award is considered a minimum, and can be supplemented with an amount that's in the judge's discretion based on a number of factors.

These factors include:

  • the child's needs,
  • each parent's standard of living,
  • each parent's income and earning ability, and
  • the age and health of the child and parents.

If yours is a high-income family and you're facing the prospect of divorce, contact the New Jersey family lawyers at Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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