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What if I think my ex-wife just wants the child support money for "status"?

Actually, "status" does enter into child support calculations but not in the way you might think. Children are entitled to share in the wealth and the standard of living of their parents. If their parents are very well off or even wealthy, the children’s standard of living should reflect that. If parents have a very high income, a judge may order a high amount of support under the child support guidelines or by deviating from the guidelines, in order to provide a child support award that reflects that "status."

Judges apply this "status principle" to ensure that the custodial parent and the child(ren) do not have a standard of living that is much below that of the noncustodial parent. One should consider that if the child would have received certain luxury items if the marriage had remained intact, then the child should receive these items when the marriage is dissolved.

Be aware, however, that judges may not order an excessive child support award (one that is far, far beyond the child’s necessities).