June, 2018

An Extreme Child Support Case

I am very interested in family law issues because this type of law covers an area where things can get personal and emotional. This is because family law matters have immediate and direct effects on the parties involved. I decided to do a little research into a specific area of family law, child support so that I could expand my knowledge of this area of law.

At the beginning of my research, I came across a helpful article by the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield that explained child support. The article defined child support as a support obligation owed on behalf of a child. Basically, child support is standard practice in divorces, and it is a type of financial award that is paid by one former spouse to the other former spouse to ensure that the children of the marriage are receiving proper care. Child support payments vary based on a wide range of circumstances. Because of this, I did a little research to find some particularly extreme circumstances that affected child support issues.

I read a story about a husband that was a real-estate developer and a multi-billionaire. In court, the wife claimed that the husband had not paid child support for his two children for a period of about 15 years. Basically, the wife and the children went to the court seeking retroactive child support from the husband. As part of the wife’s case, she claimed that she had formed several contracts with the husband that defined child support obligations and how the payments would increase from month-to-month. The wife said that she agreed to these contracts because the husband promised to have a relationship with the children and that he would provide for them throughout his lifetime in accordance with his wealth. Despite these claimed contractual terms, later in their lives, the children approached the husband while in a restaurant and he ignored them.

The husband said that over the course of the approximately 15-year-period, he had paid over $3 million in child support to the children. He also claimed that the wife always knew what his intended relationship with the children would be, namely that he never meant to parent the two children.

The wife also claimed that the husband told her that he was spending between $3 million and $5 million per month on personal expenses during the relevant period. Based on this calculation, the wife sought child support of $400k per child in retroactive support for the 15-year period. She claimed that even though the children had enough money to survive, they were entitled to their father’s standard of living. Apparently, this standard of living included a Sun Valley ranch, two California homes, a yacht, and private jets.

The case went to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the husband. Therefore, he had no further child support obligations to the children. There are some truly extreme cases of child support out there. But even the most extreme cases of child support share the basic elements of the financial obligation as described in this helpful article.

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