Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.

Federal official's child support case resolved

Arizona courtrooms are full of parents who are concerned about child custody and support in the aftermath of their divorces. Indeed, child support is often a contentious issue that leads to drawn-out legal proceedings, with some of these lasting for years. Even well-known federal officials are not exempt from enduring such legal processes, as evidenced by a recent case out of the nation's capital. Ex-director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag has just resolved his own child support case with his ex-wife, with the decision handed down on July 10.

Reports show that the woman opted to seek additional child support from her ex-husband after his income increased exponentially. Previously, he was making about $135,000 annually, so his child support payments for their 12- and 14-year-old children were modest. However, Orszag recently quit his federal gig and moved on to a financial services group in New York, where his income skyrocketed to a projected $4 million annually.

The woman decided that she wanted to pursue a child support modification, seeking monthly payments of $22,000. A judge in the case roundly rejected that request, calling it "backdoor alimony" and accusing the woman of being greedy. Instead, the man will now be responsible for paying for their children's private school education, along with extracurricular activities, summer camp and some medical costs. The woman in this case herself earns some $350,000 annually, so a judge determined that she was capable of caring for the children without a significant change in child support.

Parents have the right to receive fair compensation through their child support agreements. However, it is important to remember the intent of child support - to provide for the best interests of the child. Parents should not attempt to game the legal system by requesting unnecessary child support to serve their own interests, though they do have a right to legitimate complaints against payers.

Source: Source: The Washington Post, "Child-support drama ends in legal win for Peter Orszag," Helena Andrews, July 10, 2014

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