# Calculations

The calculation of a retroactive periodic child support award to the wife and offsetting that award with credits for a retroactive award to the husband for the wife’s unpaid share of add-on expenses was the subject of the September 30, 2020 decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department in Levi v. Levi.

The parties were married in 2003 and had two children. On May 7, 2014, the husband commenced this action for a divorce. Pursuant to a pendente lite order dated September 3, 2014, the husband was directed to pay the wife \$500 per month for temporary spousal maintenance, \$750 per month for temporary child support, 100% of unreimbursed medical, dental, and eyeglasses expenses for the wife and the children, and to pay the expenses for certain therapists and tutors for the children.

At trial, it was established that the husband was employed full-time by the MTA, then earning a salary of \$ 99,000 annually. The wife, a licensed optician, worked part-time at a neurovisual practice, earning \$20 per hour, for an average of 25 hours per week.

In a February 8, 2017 decision after trial, Supreme Court Nassau County Justice Robert A. Bruno determined that the wife’s annual earnings of \$26,000 represented 21% of the parties’ combined income. The trial court calculated the husband’s child support obligation under the Child Support Standards Act at \$1,899.91 monthly, awarding that sum retroactive to the date of the wife’s application for pendente lite support.

Child support arrears were calculated to be \$66,496.85, using the husband’s income at the time of trial to base the award retroactive to mid-2014, some 2½ years earlier when the husband was earning less. The husband appealed.

Please indulge me; it’s one of my pet issues. And I apologize in advance for what may be my most boring blog post to date.

Writing math narratively is very difficult. When drafting a divorce settlement agreement, I try to include examples whenever formulas are written out. When reading decisions, I often draw a flow chart to help me follow the calculations.

Calculations done by the court establish rules of law. When an appellate court does it, that’s the way it’s going to be done in all cases like that in the future. All the more reason that the reader be able to follow and understand the calculations made by the court. For each calculation, you need to know how much went from where to where and why.

Sometimes, I can’t follow those calculations made by the court. Take the February 26, 2020 decision of the Second Department in Alliger-Bograd v. Bograd. The Court modified the equitable distribution credits awarded by retired Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie; reducing from \$81,829.15 to \$23,350.00 the amount to be paid by a husband to the wife, in addition to the wife acquiring the husband’s interest in the marital residence.

I am not sure whether the decision provides all the numbers used to get to the final result. The marital residence being acquired by the wife was worth \$545,000.00 There was a mortgage and a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) that totaled \$321,000.00. At first look, there was \$224,000.00 in equity.

Whether by agreement or court decree, it is common for divorced parents to be obligated to contributed to their child’s college education tuition, room and board expenses. How is that obligation computed when a child receives financial aid?

Cases have held that scholarships, grants and aid for which the student has no repayment responsibility are