This question doesn’t come up very often, but it does come up.
I will answer this question according to the law of Utah, which is the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (which includes the issue of child support, of course):
Even if it could be proven that there is no real need for a parent to pay child support, the fact that this parent would try to avoid that responsibility is so offensive to most people that the question of whether the parent should pay child support gets overshadowed by that parent’s desire or efforts to avoid paying the support.
If your question is whether it can be ordered that a parent pay no child support when the other parent has so much money that it is clear the other parent has no need of any kind of financial contribution from the other parent for the support of the child, the answer is: yes, but only if the court were to find that there is some compelling reason why only one parent should provide financial support for the child instead of both parents providing financial support.
Even in situations where one parent has more than enough money to support himself or herself and the child sufficiently and beyond, it would be rare for a court to relieve the other parent of having to make some financial contribution to the child support, even if that contribution were just a nominal or token or symbolic amount. An amount that, at the very least, is meant to signify that the parent recognizes and fulfills the obligation to be financially responsible for the child.
That stated, however, in the jurisdiction where I practice family law (Utah), whether a parent pays child support isn’t a matter left to the pure discretion of the court.
In Utah, child support is based upon a statutory mathematical formula that factors in the number of children, the gross monthly income of each of the parents, and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent to determine each parent’s financial obligation to the children on a monthly basis. Whether one parent has so much money so as to have no need for child support is not one of the statutory factors.
But as I said from the beginning, it is possible (though highly unlikely) that one could persuade a judge that he or she should not pay child support if that parent could prove 1) that paying child support in any amount would work an undue hardship on that parent and 2) that the other parent has more than enough financial resources to support the child exclusively and without contribution from the parent who is trying to avoid being ordered to pay child support.
Finally, there is nothing to prevent the parents from agreeing that one parent will not pay child support to the other, so long as they can convince the court that such an arrangement won’t be harmful to the child.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277