Family Law Myths: More Income Equals Custody
Since I Earn More Money, I Will Get Child Custody
False! The respective incomes of contesting partners are NOT among the statutorily required considerations upon which a judge will render a child custody decision. In point of fact, a higher income may well work against you if the time expended to acquire that income translates into less quality time you may have available to devote to familial responsibilities.
While income may well prove to be a factor in a child custody determination, judges in Washington do not render such decisions solely on the basis of which parent may have access to greater financial resources. In the great poker game of child custody litigation, a stable and substantial income is only one of many high cards that must be purposefully matched to meaningful pairs before a winning hand can be displayed to a watchful judge. Seattle child custody attorneys are in almost universal agreement that judges are much more inclined to take into consideration the child-parent relationship that existed prior to the breakup of the marriage rather than gross income.
Washington is one of 38 states that subscribes to what is known as the “Income Shares Model” to determine how partner’s incomes are apportioned with regard to child support. In a functionally intact household, both parent’s incomes are usually aggregated into a common fund that is spent on behalf of all the family members, children included.
The Income Shares Model embraces the notion that the child is entitled to receive the same proportion of family income that he/she would have been entitled to before the marital dissolution. The state’s reliance on this model effectively negates the advantage one partner might presume to have by virtue of commanding a greater income. Still, a substantial income is indeed an ace-in-the-hold that speaks highly for the holder.