Standard of living

I am the sole wage earner although my wife has an advanced degree and could work. My compensation has a significant portion that is year end “bonus” which could range from 0 to 60% of my base salary.

  1. To establish a base wage for support purposes do I use my base salary or do I need to average a umber of years actual earnings from tax forms?
  2. To maintain her current standard of living and pay child support I would be paying >70% of my take home pay. How is “standard of living” determined?

Computing income is tricky when there are bonuses involved. You could take an average of a few years of income or you could compute it based on base salary and havea calculation for the year-end bonus. If this is an agreement you are coming to, it would have to be something that both of you are comfortable with and think is fair.

The second half of your question is a much more difficult question to answer. Since most couples cannot maintain the same standard of living after separation that they do during the marriage, the term “standard of living” is a loaded term in my opinion. Many factors are taken into consideration by the court when determining a reasonable figure for alimony, and it is doubtful that a judge would order you pay 70% of your take home.