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401(k) contributions are income for child support calculation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday affirmed that the money a father contributed to his 401(k) account during his marriage may be included as income for purposes as determining child support.

Alexander Nikolayev, who earned more than $100,000 a year at his job with Eli Lilly & Co., appealed Marion Superior Judge Cynthia Ayres decision to include his voluntary 401(k) contributions to calculate his child support obligation for his one minor son. Alexander Nikolayev and his wife Natalia divorced, with his wife claiming that Alexander Nikolayev held tight control over the family’s finances and did not increase their spending on items even as his salary increased during their marriage. Instead, he used the extra money to contribute more than $1,700 a month to his 401(k) account.

“It is true, as Alexander argues, that the guidelines and Indiana Code 31-16-6-1(a) consider the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved,” Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote in Alexander Nikolayev v. Natalia Nikolayev, 49A05-1207-DR-372. “However, that standard is measured by the parent’s weekly gross income for purposes of determining child support, and it is not the parent’s prerogative to decrease the amount of weekly gross income for determining child support by his decision to invest part of the income.

“In short, the trial court did not err in ordering that the entire amount of Alexander’s salary and regular bonuses be treated as weekly gross income for purposes of determining his child support obligation.”

The judges also upheld the value the trial court placed on the household goods and personal property Natalia Nikolayev purchased after moving out but before her divorce was final. Alexander Nikolayev’s failure to comply with Appellate Rule 31 on this issue results in a waiver of a challenge to the findings on appeal.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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