By Matt Rooney, Esq. | DeMichele & DeMichele, P.C. We've seen our fair share of substantial child support obligations and unorthodox familial challenges here at DeMichele & DeMichele representing both payors and child support recipients, but this story might take the cake. Susan Edelman of the New York Post recently reported that New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is obligated to pay $336,000 per year in child support. That works out to $3,500 each month, per child, for eight children by seven different mothers. Cromartie had trouble paying it at one point even with a professional sports salary (his current contract is worth $32 million over four years). Back in 2010, he reportedly took out a $500,000 advance to pay back child support.
To top it all off, the NFL cornerback's wife is currently pregnant with twins… even after her husband underwent a vasectomy: I didn't even tell Antonio right away because I didn't think it was possible,” she adds. “I was going back and forth in my head how it could even happen. In my head we were good to go, we were having free sex! I just really thought that his procedure was the best protection you could have at this point.” Granted, Anthony Cromarite's child support situation is clearly more complex than your average New Jersey payor's obligation (which might be the understatement of the century!), but if all of his eight non-custodial children's obligations stemmed from New Jersey court orders, our DeMichele & DeMichele child support attorneys would immediately identify three key issues:
(1) The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines would not apply to Cromarite's cases.
He earns far too much money. As set forth in Appendix IX-B, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines do not apply in instances when the parties earn a net income of less than $170 per week ($8,840 per year) or more than $3,600 per week ($187,200 per year). Courts refer to these circumstances as “off-guidelines” cases. Net income is defined by the Guidelines as “…gross income minus income taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement, previously ordered child support orders, and when appropriate a theoretical child support obligation for other dependents.”
(2) Even if the Guidelines did apply, a special calculation would likely need to be performed.
That's because calculating child support for multiple children operates differently. In New Jersey, a problem arises when a child support payor has three or more support obligations to pay for children living in separate families. The New Jersey Child Support Worksheet allows for the entry of an other dependent deduction “ODD”. For three or more child support obligations the question is, “In what order should the ODD the applied to the child support obligations?” For a more in-depth discussion of how this situation is currently handled, click here to read my colleague Rick DeMichele's informative post.
(3) Cromarite will likely need to modify his support obligations when he retires from the NFL.
Child support considers a number of factors but any Guidelines-guided calculation weights none so heavily as the payor's income. Involuntary changes in one or both parents' incomes can give rise to a change in circumstances which, as I have written extensively about before, could be a ground to modify child support. Anthony Cromarite has already beat the average NFL career length of approximately 3.3 years and he has earned better than the average salary, but unless he invested very wisely or falls into lucrative post-player opportunities (like a TV commentator gig), his annual income will drop considerably upon retirement from the NFL. Child support is always modifiable in New Jersey as a matter of public policy. For a better and more extensive discussion of child support modification, go ahead and click here to begin.
Whether you're a multi-million dollar athlete or an average middle class employee, the calculation of a child support obligation is rarely as straightforward as it seems on paper. We've also only scratched the surface of variables which come into play. Don't fumble when everything you've worked for is on the line! Help is only a quick phone call or e-mail away. We're here to walk you through the process and achieve a best-case outcome given the facts of your case. If you have any questions regarding the determination of income for child support, or family court matters generally in New Jersey, please contact us online today or call (856) 546-1350 for a confidential consultation with one of our skilled family court lawyers. ______