Child support: When the wealthy argue over “table scraps”

Child support: When the wealthy argue over “table scraps”

Celebrity child support payments make for an easy target. It was one of the first articles we wrote for this blog, and considering A-listers are popping out little ones about as often as they’re drafting up divorce settlements, it’ll probably be a recurring topic.

Although our last jab at child support focused on the largest payouts in Hollywood history, we did provide some legal background on how the men in black calculate these six-figure allowances. Namely, the child’s standard of living before the parents split.

It’s not fair to make little Johnny walk to school one day, and fly there in a private helicopter the next.

And Hollywood is nothing if not fair, as evidenced by the following ludicrous lifestyle “requirements.”

Theoretically new furniture does literally support a child

In March of 2008, actress Halle Berry and French Canadian model Gabriel Aubry welcomed a baby girl into the world. But in some cosmic joke, this family’s demise was as ugly as their baby was beautiful.

Berry and Aubry split in 2010 and immediately lawyered up for what would turn out to be a very, very long custody battle.

So long in fact, that Halle got married, had another kid with her new husband, divorced the new husband and was still fighting the Canadian pretty boy in family court.

Berry’s legal complaint revolves around her monthly $16k child support payments, which she claims go mostly to Aubry rather than her daughter.

Court documents claimed that Aubry spends $2,780 of his ex’s payments on “gym fees, clothing purchases, and furniture” because he can’t get a job.

We’d love to sprinkle this tidbit with some Latin and legal wizardry, but Washington State family law doesn’t require you to support an ex’s floundering career as a person who stands in front of cameras all day.

Putting time aside for family

François-Henri Pinault may not be a household name, but as the chairman of a conglomerate that owns more than 16 luxury brands -- from Gucci to Yves-Saint Laurent -- he’s a tax bracket...or two, above your humble Renton attorneys.

Whether it's his luxurious lifestyle or his French je ne sais quoi, François has done well for himself in the lady friend department. He’s currently married to Salma Hayek, and child support payments go to his ex, supermodel Linda Evangelista.

In the courtroom, Evangelista reportedly asked for $46k per month to raise Pinault’s third child, Augie. But the multibillionaire claims $552k per year is mostly for “mom support,” while Evangelista claims it’s about maintaining consistency for Augie.

Fair is fair, and frugality is not a word in François’s vocabulary -- French or English.

Evangelista’s attorneys pointed out that in one year alone he spent $260k on his luxury watch collection and $12 million on an LA mansion that is for his daughter with Hayek.

But when Augie’s birthday rolled around, Pinault, in his own words, “just forgot.”

Hopefully, next year he budgets for a watch that displays the date!

Cruising in first class

After decades of sprinting across the silver screen -- and occasionally slowing down to stare confusedly off camera -- Tom Cruise has amassed a net worth of over $470 million.

But money can’t buy you love, and Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Mr. Scientology after some sources claimed she lived in fear of their daughter being abducted by her ex’s cult. True or not, she ultimately walked away with $33k in monthly child support payments.

Recently, rumors circulated that she was planning to ask a judge to increase those payments for, “[Suri’s] dance, skating and music lessons, new clothes, arts and crafts, and tutors.”

Suspiciously absent from that list was Holmes’ $49k in Christmas gifts to baby Maverick, including a $24,000 “Grand Victorian Luxury Playhouse.” Complete with a fully functional kitchen, tea room, and second story loft.

Show us the money, Jerry Maguire! Playhouse plumbing and landscaping doesn’t come cheap in this economy.

Chances are, if you’re dealing with your own child support case, you’re looking at numbers with a few less zeros in them. But hey, that doesn’t change our availability, we don’t discriminate between our client’s the way François does with his children.