Apparently, Britney Spears is not interested in paying more child support to Kevin Federline for their two sons together. Federline receives $20,000 per month from Spears, and he claims that he should receive three times that amount because Spears’ income is more than $34 million a year.
For her part, Spears is saying “oops, [you] did it again” because Federline decided to have four more children (not with her), and they are not her financial responsibility. Federline claims to earn $3,000 per month and support his new wife and four other children on that income, along with Spears’ child support.
Spears is responding to his request by pointing out that their children do not live an extravagant lifestyle in her home. This is important because the children’s lifestyle in each parent’s home is something the court will be examining closely. Generally, child support is determined based on the guideline child support formula, which takes into account the incomes of both parents, their taxes/deductions, and their timeshare with the child. Family Code §4055. To deviate from guideline child support, the court must state the reasons on the record. Family Code §4056.
A parent with an extraordinarily high income changes the typical situation. Family Code §4057 (b)(3) states that the presumed guideline child support award may be rebutted by admissible evidence showing that the parent being ordered to pay child support has an extraordinarily high income and the amount determined under the formula would exceed the needs of the children.
Spears’ $34 million in yearly income certainly qualifies as extraordinarily high income and their current support amount suggests the judge already made a below-guideline order. This begs the question of whether a court would reconsider and possibly raise Federline’s child support. The court will look at the reasonable needs of the children, as well as historical spending on the children, although this is not dispositive. S.P. v. F.G. (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 921.
In S.P. v. F.G, father was a successful businessman worth $400 million and mother was an actress who starred in a Swedish reality television show. The parties agreed that father would pay $10,000 per month in child support as well as all of their daughter’s educational and extracurricular expenses. When their daughter turned twelve, mother asked for a significant increase. Included in her breakdown of expenses was $1,200 month for “beauty” expenses because mother believed the daughter would be a “top model.” The trial court found that guideline support was $40,000 per month, but deviated downward to $14,000 per month. Mother appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the trial court properly declined to rubber-stamp mother’s claims or to simply defer to the guideline amount.
It is Spears’ burden to show that her children’s needs are being met with the current support, and it certainly doesn’t help her case if Federline’s claims about her extravagant lifestyle are true. Spears may be complaining that Federline is “getting another ‘Piece of Me’” in child support soon.
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