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Child Support

The Huffington Post just reported that model Linda Evangelista has requested a New York court to award her $46,000 a month in child support, even though she is worth $8,000,000.00. Some same the figure is extreme and others justify it with her need for a nanny and personal driver for her daughter. As in California, the figure is someone based upon the father’s $5.2 million base-income from last year.

California Family Code states that BOTH parents are obligated to support their child “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The Courts use a “statewide uniform child support guideline” formula which allows the judge or commissioner to input several numbers (primarily income and custodial timeshare) and in return the program spits out the “support amount” to be paid.

The formula used by the Court does not take into account how much money one parent will have left over or whether that parent will be able to pay the remainder of his/her bills. The formula does not take into account the “new spouse’s” additional income if one of the parents is remarried, either. Under specific circumstances, based on the ability and opportunity to work, the Court may impute income to one or the other parent, even if they are not working. The Court recognizes Family Code § 4053 which states that, “A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” “Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.” “Children should share in the standard of living of both parents…”

In California, the parties are encouraged to agree on custody and support issues; however, if the parents do not agree, an Order to Show Cause may be filed to request an order from the court to establish both custody and support orders. Because the issues are complex and take into account a number of factors, it is important to consult with a divorce lawyer or family law attorney to insure that you protect your rights before they are further jeopardized. You may not be asking for, or paying, $46,000 per month; but every support order is significant to the parents and child(ren) involved.