I’m male, the income providing spouse (i.e., my wife has a part time job but has been dependent on me for income). Married 11 years, 2 dependent kids…no infidelity or similar to consider. My wife will be the primary physical custodian of the kids going forward. I met with a lawyer for an initial consultation who told me that “all situations are different” and that “there is no hard and fast rule”, but as a general thumbrule I could expect to pay approximately 50% of my income in child support and alimony (at least for the first 5.5 years until alimony runs off).
First question: is that 50% of income thumbrule a reasonable thumbrule in your opinion?
Second question: if it is a reasonable assumption, is the thumbrule calculated based on gross earnings or earnings net of taxes?
Third question: I’ll begin negotiating with my wife in the next week or so, and also want to begin to frame my budget for my life post-separation (i.e., how much home/condo can I afford, etc.). I make about $12K per month gross/$8K net of taxes including self employment taxes, she makes about $2.5K per month gross. We ran the child support calculator and it came up that I will pay her $1.7K per month. Is it reasonable using the thumbrule to expect to be paying my spouse $2.3K per month in alimony ($1.7K CS + $2.3K AL =$4.0K or 50% of $8K monthly earnings net of tax)? I’m also going to be paying for the kids’ health and dental, which is about $0.3K per month, but didn’t include that in this thumbrule calculation since the child support calculator gave me credit for the insurance payments.
Fourth question: What is the regulatorily mandated child support payment supposed to cover? Should we generally expect to share expenses on a weighted income basis for the children going forward for non-basic expenses such sports, activities, camps, etc.?
I really appreciate this forum…thanks for your thoughts.