Articles Posted in Child Support

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question: “What does a “No-Fault’ divorce mean in NC?”

 

Most people think that once a divorce is over, it’s over. After all, you’ve spent substantial time and money trying to undo your ties to another person, why would you continue to have contact once you’re finally free? Sometimes though, things don’t go so smoothly, life’s messy after all, and lengthy relationships can be hard to leave behind. The question becomes, once you start to muddy the water, getting back in touch with an ex after the divorce is already signed and sealed, does that reconciliation undo the terms of the divorce or will the settlement agreement remain in effect? To find out more, keep reading.

 

Balled up paper Charlotte Divorce Attorney Mecklenburg Child Custody LawyerA recent case out of Pennsylvania dealt with exactly this issue. A couple got married back in 1992 and had a number of happy years together. However, things eventually soured and the coupled separated in 2006 and divorced a year later, signing a settlement agreement at the time. Among many of things that the settlement agreement dealt with was that the husband would agree to pay the wife $40,000 in installments. The two also agreed to share half of the cost of their children’s college education.

 

Not long after the divorce was finalized the two reconnected and lived together from 2009 through 2010. The second go at the relationship ultimately failed and the husband moved back out. The problem arose when the husband decided he no longer wanted to abide by the terms of the 2007 divorce settlement agreement. He stopped making installment payments to his wife and claimed he wasn’t legally responsible for half the kids’ college costs.

 

A lawsuit ended up resulting from the dispute and the husband argued that the court should support his decision to ignore the terms of the settlement agreement. According to the husband, the agreement should be deemed abrogated. As the husband’s lawyer pointed out, other states embrace the concept of abrogation. This concept says that those portions of the settlement agreement which have not yet been performed at the time of reconciliation are deemed void. In this case, that would mean the portion of the $40,000 that had not been repaid before 2009 would not need to be paid and the responsibility for college costs would also vanish.

 

The Pennsylvania court disagreed with the husband’s argument. According to the court, the divorce settlement agreements are deemed contracts and are fully enforceable under the law. The Court refused to join other states that embrace the concept of abrogation, saying that the wife had not abandoned her rights under the agreement by briefly reconciling with her ex-husband. The Court pointed out that the agreement did not contain any language that required either party to continually demand performance to preserve the right to enforce the agreement at a later date. As a result, the husband was ordered to continue paying the remainder of the $40,000 to the wife, take responsibility for his half of the kids’ college costs and reimburse his ex-wife for legal expenses.

 

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Source:

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/reconciliation-does-not-void-prior-35243/

 

 

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Child Support In A North Carolina Divorce

New Hampshire Court Says Judges Can’t Undo a Divorce

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”

 

If you have children and are facing a divorce, you likely want to understand more about the child support system and how it works in North Carolina. Given that many people only go through a divorce once, this will likely be your first rodeo and, as a result, you may have a lot of questions. To better understand child support and how it works in North Carolina, keep reading.

 

Wallet Charlotte Family Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyHow is child support determined?

 

In the vast majority of states, and North Carolina is no exception, child support payments are determined by guidelines. This means that you don’t need to worry about unfair awards, for example, a judge disliking you and ordering you to pay an astronomical sum just because he or she can. Child support payments are intended to be fair and are arrived at using formulas that apply to everyone, across the board.

 

Factors

 

So what factors go into calculating child support? The guidelines weigh the income of both parents against the amount of time he or she will spend caring for the children. Beyond these general factors, the guidelines can also take into account things like child care expenses, educational costs, expenses associated with caring for children with special needs, healthcare and health insurance expenses.

 

Does everyone pay support?

 

Yes, everyone is required to pay support. It doesn’t matter if your income is low or if you don’t have visitation with the kids. No excuse will allow you to avoid supporting your children.

 

Can you waive support?

 

No, the clear answer here is that a parent cannot waive child support. The reason is that child support is something that is meant to help the child, not the parent. As a result, only the child could waive the support, something that is not allowed under the law. That means no matter how friendly the parents are with one another, child support is still an issue that must be taken into consideration.

 

Minimum and maximum

 

Believe it or not, the North Carolina child support guidelines address the issue of incomes that are either on the very low or very high end. The most recent guidelines say that parents should be allowed sufficient income to maintain a standard of living based on the federal poverty level. That means that low income individuals will not be required to make large child support payments if doing so would leave them with no money of their own to live on. The guidelines say that for those with adjusted gross monthly income of less than $1,097, the guidelines require a minimum support order of $50. Though this will be of negligible impact on the child receiving the support, it’s a way of ensuring that all parents take some financial responsibility, no matter how small, for their children.

 

The maximum only comes into play when the parents’ combined adjusted gross income is more than $25,000 per month (or $300,000 per year). When income exceeds this threshold, the normal child support schedule is maxed out. In cases involving very high incomes, courts will need to set the award on their own, ensuring that the amount of the award meets the reasonable needs of the child.

 

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

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What happens if your former spouse stops paying child support?

Rape victim must pay child support, may or may not get to meet his daughter

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” Are overtime, bonuses, and commissions included in calculating child support?”

 

Everyone knows that income plays a role in divorce. It can impact not only child support obligations, but also spousal support and, in some circumstances, equitable division of assets. What is interesting is that income includes more than just what you earn from working. Income can be from investments, income can be from bonuses and income can also be imputed. Imputation occurs when a court decides that a person should be given credit for earning a certain income, even if it isn’t really being earned.

 

Wrapped gift Charlotte Divorce Attorney Mecklenburg Family Law LawyerA good example of imputation occurs when a spouse is deemed purposely unemployed, such as a doctor who quit work to avoid being forced to pay child support. This doctor will not be allowed to avoid support obligations by going and working at a minimum wage job. Instead, the family court will likely impute income, pretending as if the doctor earns a certain amount of money whether he actually does or not.

 

So are there limits to when income can be imputed? For instance, could gifts be considered imputed income? Interestingly, a recent court decision out of Canada dealt with precisely this issue and reached an important conclusion. The case in Canada was decided by an Appeals Court in Ontario which was left to answer the question of whether money received by one man in the form of regularly recurring gifts from his mother should be considered income.

 

The court determined that the gifts had been taking place for years, over the course of the marriage and subsequently. The gifts from the man’s mother had always been used to supplement the family’s collective income and showed no sign of stopping. The wife argued that this money ought to be imputed as income to the husband, increasing the amount he would pay for child support. The husband disagreed, claiming that to consider the gifts as income would effectively hold his mother responsible for the child support obligation.

 

Ultimately, the appeals court disagreed. The court held that gifts that recur regularly should be considered income for the purposes of computing child support and even spousal support payments. As for the argument that doing so would make the mother responsible for providing support, the Court said this would be like saying employers are responsible for supporting the children of their employees. The mother is welcome to stop providing such gifts anytime she chooses, the court would never require that the gifts continue. If and when such gifts stop, the man would then be able to request a support modification, explaining that the end of the gifts amounts to a substantial change in circumstances.

 

Though all of this is interesting, it’s also all taking place in Canada, not North Carolina. So would gifts be considered imputed income here? According to previous rulings and legislation, “income” in North Carolina can include a range of things, including gifts, prizes, irregular and nonrecurring income. There aren’t clear examples like the Canadian case to explain how this would work in practice, but theoretically at least, such a situation could result in similarly imputed income in North Carolina.

 

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Source:

http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201511025026/commentary/court-gets-it-right-on-imputing-gifts-to-husband-as-income

 

 

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What happens if your former spouse stops paying child support?

Rape victim must pay child support, may or may not get to meet his daughter

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”

 

If your former spouse stops paying court ordered child support it can create a lot of problems. You may depend on that money to pay bills and suddenly having that stream of money disappear can leave you scrambling. Thankfully, you have ways to extract the money owed from your spouse. There are many ways of doing this, but a common one is to pursue a wage garnishment. To find out more about how wage garnishment works in North Carolina, keep reading.

 

Check image Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Custody LawyerWhat is wage garnishment?

 

Wage garnishment is an order from a government agency or court that has been sent to your employer. The order requires your employer to withhold a certain amount of money from your paycheck and then send this money to your creditor, whether that be a government agency, a person (like a former spouse) or a credit card company.

 

When can your check be garnished?

 

Generally, you don’t have to worry about having money taken from your check until a court order has been issued authorizing such a garnishment. Creditors are usually prevented from taking your money without having first sued you and gotten a judgment allowing the garnishment. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Wages can be garnished without a court order for things like unpaid taxes, defaulted student loans and child support, including child support arrearages.

 

How does a garnishment happen?

 

In North Carolina, garnishment of wages occurs when one parent either petitions a court directly or asks the Child Support Enforcement Office for assistance in recovering owed money. Wage garnishment can only be used if a court order for child support is violated, meaning this cannot happen if there is only a separation agreement in place. The garnishment order can be signed by a judge either in the county where the mother resides, where the father resides or where the child resides.

 

Limits on garnishment

 

Thankfully there are limits when it comes to garnishment. If there weren’t there could be serious trouble, with creditors seizing your entire paycheck you could be left penniless, unable to buy food or pay for housing. Legislators have created guidelines to ensure this doesn’t happen, with the goal being to leave enough money to pay basic living expenses. Under North Carolina law, garnishment for child support may be ordered for up to forty percent of a person’s net available pay.

 

Can you be fired due to a garnishment?

 

The short answer is no, your employer cannot fire you for having one wage garnishment. The reason many people worry about being fired is that it can be a pain for your employer to have to comply with the garnishment order. Rather than deal with the fuss, the fear is the employer simply terminates your employment. Thankfully employees are protected under federal law which says that you cannot be discharged if you have one wage garnishment. However, federal law does not apply to those with multiple wage garnishments and termination, in those cases, is technically possible.

 

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

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Another State Considers Measure To Change Custody

Legislators seek to end state’s presumption that women are better for child custody

 

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”

A Duke University researcher who set out to test whether the adage that unmarried parents are most receptive to the idea of getting married in the “magic moment” right after a child’s birth was true found out the post-birth magic lasts longer than a moment.

Smiling baby Charlotte Custody Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyThe researcher, Christina Gibson-Davis, drew on a national study of some 5,255 children born out-of-wedlock in the United States.

Gibson-Davis’s study, which appears online July 2 in Demography, found that 64 percent of children born out of wedlock see their mothers marry. Half of post-conception marriages, however, end in divorce. Only 38 percent of post-conception marriages between biological mothers and fathers ended in divorce within 10 years, compared to 54 percent of marriages between biological mothers and stepfathers.

Gibson-Davis stressed that despite years of public attention to out-of-wedlock births, few studies have uncovered how children born in that setting actually live.

The study appeared to show that while many mothers and fathers do marry after the birth of a child, the so-called “magic moment” to marry often extends well beyond the days and weeks after a child’s birth – as long as three years in many cases.

In 2012 – the most recent year in which data was available – 49,170 children were born to unmarried mothers in North Carolina. Children born to unwed mothers face potential hurdles such as proving the identity of and obtaining support from one’s father. When a mother marries a child’s father – even after the child’s birth – the child is automatically “legitimated” in the eyes of the law.

Where a child is born out of wedlock and a marriage does not occur, however, a child can still be “legitimated” through a court proceeding. This gives the child the right to receive adequate support from each parent until the age of 18; the benefit of spending time with each parent regardless of who has physical custody of the child; the right to inherit property from each parent’s estate; and the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of the death of one or both parents.

If you or someone you know needs help with the legitimation process or has questions or concerns regarding marriage, child custody, child support, or divorce, please give me a call today to set up and appointment.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828   or find additional resources here.

 

About the Author

ARNOLD&SMITH_243 3.jpgMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

Sources:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-07/du-am070114.php

http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_49/Article_2.pdf

 

 

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“A smiling baby” by Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada – Hah!. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_smiling_baby.jpg#/media/File:A_smiling_baby.jpg

 

 

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Cohabitating North Carolina Couples Not More at Risk for Divorce

Reality Television Star Says Everyone Needs A Prenup :: Separation and Divorce Lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina

 

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”

 

Nick Olivas said he was a lonely, 14-year-old kid going through a rough patch when his 20-year-old neighbor raped him. He said he didn’t know at the time that under Arizona law, a child under 15 could consent to sex, making him a victim of statutory rape. He didn’t press charges against the woman, but now the State of Arizona is after Olivas to pay child support for the daughter he fathered with the woman.

Daughter Hugging Father Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyOlivas said he and the woman went their separate ways. He graduated high school, attended college and became a Phoenix-based medical assistant. He said he was living his life and enjoying being young when, two years ago, he was served with papers demanding child-support payments for a six-year-old daughter.

Arizona—like Kansas and California—considers the circumstances of the daughter’s conception irrelevant for child-support purposes, said Mel Felt, director of the New York-based advocacy group the National Center for Men. In 1993, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a 13-year-old boy who impregnated his 17-year-old babysitter was liable for child support, even though he had been legally unable to consent to sex. A California state court issued a similar ruling involving a 15-year-old boy whose 34-year-old neighbor was convicted of raping him.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

 

A Canadian man may have thought his girlfriend’s made-up tale about her quintuplet pregnancy was the ultimate gold-digger’s tale, but that was before he was one-upped by a Chengdu, China-based panda named Ai Hin.

Panda eating bamboo Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerA “gold digger” is defined informally as “a woman who associates with or marries a man chiefly for material gain.” To be fairer than Jamie Foxx and Kanye West were in their 2005 hit single, “Gold Digger,” men are just as capable of engaging in gold-digging conduct. Since most men cannot become pregnant (yes, men are carrying babies to term), the pretending-you-are-pregnant-to-ensnare-the-mate phenomenon has been a strategy traditionally employed by members of the fairer sex. While not by any means the first to document the phenomenon, Daniel Defoe’s harrowing 1722 account of the life of Moll Flanders is instructive.

The lady Flanders was, in the end, a sympathetic figure. She did what she had to do to survive in a sexist and paternalistic culture. History may not be as kind to the contemporary Canadian Paul Servat’s girlfriend.

According to the Toronto Sun, Servat was tricked in a fake-pregnancy scheme by his girlfriend, who told him she was carrying quintuplets. The girlfriend’s stomach swelled, she began lactating, and the couple accepted donations from neighbors and friends. A mother of triplets who befriended the couple told CTV news that the girlfriend’s story didn’t add up. She said the girlfriend kept adding to the number of expected children.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”


Several New Jersey courts have been contending with tricky issues surrounding divorced couples and continuing child support obligations. In one recent case, a family court judge from Morris County made national headlines when he refused to require a couple to pay for private school and college tuition for their 18-year-old daughter who had moved out of their home and now wanted financial support.

 

Archway Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyIn a more recent case, a New Jersey appellate court ruled that a divorced dad was required to give his daughter more than $112,000 to pay for half of her $225,000 tab to attend Cornell Law School. Though most states do not require parents to continue supporting children past the age of 18 or graduation for high school, whichever occurs last, the judges in this case had no problem enforcing the payments on the father.

 

According to the panel of judges, the requirement to pay for law school would not apply in most New Jersey divorce cases, but does in this one because the parties specifically included such a clause in their divorce agreement. The judges pointed out that the father had negotiated the language of the settlement and was perfectly clear what his obligation would be.

 

Though parents may not have to provide this kind of support for their adult children, if they sign a contract agreeing to do so they cannot then expect to get out of it. The provision said that after the couple’s 2009 divorce, each would agree to pay half the cost of their daughter’s law school, assuming she maintained at least a “C” average.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”

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Marc Anthony is in the middle of fighting a bitter child support case against his ex-wife and former Miss Universe contestant Dayanara Torres. Torres claims that Anthony should be paying far more each month than he currently is due to a huge boom in the Latin singer’s income.

 

Stacks of money Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyAccording to court papers, Torres says that Anthony is currently paying her $13,000 per month in child support. However, she says that recent financial disclosures by Anthony reveal that this is far less than he ought to be paying given his increased earning power since their divorce was negotiated back in 2004.

 

As part of the child support fight, Anthony was required to fill out new paperwork regarding his income and assets and it shows that he is doing quite well for himself. Anthony claims to earn a total of $1.25 million per month and says that he is worth $20.8 million. Anthony credits income from record sales, concert tours and his clothing line at Kohl’s for the financial success.

 

Torres argues that because Anthony is now making much more than he was when they initially divorced, her children should benefit in the form of increased child support payments. Torres wants the support to increase dramatically, from $13,000 to $112,000 per month. Anthony balks at the figure, saying that he pays Torres more than enough money to comfortably provide for the children.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “When do you get alimony?”

A recent report on TMZ.com discussed the divorce documents filed by MSNBC morning anchor Joe Scarborough and his ex-wife Susan Waren. The documents reveal that host of the popular “Morning Joe” program pulls in a massive $99,038 per week.

TV Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to news reports, Joe’s attorneys managed to draft a divorce settlement that will allow him to hold onto the vast majority of his substantial salary. Scarborough quietly filed for divorce from his wife of 12 years back in September of last year. The two were able to work out a custody agreement for their two children, a 10-year-old and a five-year old. According to court records, the two will share joint legal custody of the kids and will both continue living together in the same Connecticut mansion for the foreseeable future.

The unusual arrangement means that Scarborough will not pay any child support to his ex. In terms of alimony, Waren will walk away with a relatively small amount of money. The agreement stipulates that Scarborough give his ex $30,000 per month for the next five years, then $25,000 per month for two more years. Scarborough also agreed to pay his ex a lump sum settlement of $150,000 and has agreed to continue making payments on the couple’s Connecticut home and to pay for private schooling for both children.

Rumors circulated that the split may have been due to infidelity on Scarborough’s part, something that his attorney was eager to definitively put to rest. As a result, Waren included a clause in the agreement acknowledging that Scarborough was “faithful, devoted and committed” during the length of the marriage.

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