Court Awards Costner’s Estranged Wife $129,000 in Monthly Child Support
Children have a difficult enough time when their parents divorce, and a dramatic shift in their daily routine can make the situation even more traumatic. One goal of child support is to order payments that allow young people to maintain the same lifestyle as they enjoyed while their parents were together. Following a contentious proceeding, veteran actor Kevin Costner learned that judges can mandate six-figure monthly child support payments in order to accomplish this objective.
Judge Thomas Anderle of Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California ordered Costner to pay $129,755 per month in child support while his divorce from Christine Baumgartner is being resolved. The amount is more than twice what the film and TV star had offered to pay and approximately half of what Baumgartner sought. While the child support obligation every month is more than what many families earn in a year, there are several reasons why the judge made this decision:
- Parental income — Since getting married in 2007, Baumgartner did not earn outside income as she took care of the household and the couple’s three children. In contrast, Costner’s pay is about $1.5 million per month, so his child support is not even 10 percent of what he earns.
- Residential arrangements — Though you cannot set child support terms through a prenuptial agreement, the document signed by the couple did have an effect on the negotiations. Under the terms of the couple’s prenup, Baumgartner was supposed to leave the family residence within 30 days of the divorce filing, but she remained in the home past that date, claiming that she needed funding to set up a “suitable separate household” for her and the children before departing.
- Lifestyle accommodations — Some of the family’s annual expenses listed by Baumgartner in her petition included more than $800,000 in gifts, $34,000 in golf club dues and $12,000 in hunting dues. No matter how extravagant certain costs seem to outsiders, your child support lawyer should have a detailed understanding of family finances in order to advocate for an appropriate resolution. For example, if one of the couple’s children is an avid golfer, an adjustment for dues at a club near their mother’s new home might be warranted.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. represents parents in child support matters associated with Long Island divorces, as well as modification and enforcement proceedings. Please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable New York attorney.