Blake Griffin made quite a splash in the news recently, and it had nothing to do with his rim-rattling dunks. In fact, it has nothing to do with basketball at all. No, the 29-year-old Detroit Pistons forward was in the headlines because the courts reportedly ordered him to pay $258,000 a month in child support to his ex, Brynn Cameron.
Even with a five-year deal worth a reported $171 million, that’s a hefty chunk of change, totaling more than $3 million annually. Sources have since debunked those reports, including Griffin himself. The couple wants to keep the details and specifics under wraps, though gossip site TMZ reported Griffin will ultimately pay Cameron $32,000 a month to care for their two children.
That’s still an exorbitant amount for most people, but it’s only slightly more than 1/10th of the initial figure. And while most of us will never face child support payments quite that high, they still often represent a significant financial burden. Following divorce or breakups, this is usually one of your biggest continuing expenses. It’s important to understand what they’re for and how the courts determine the amount.
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What is Child Support?
Part of your duty and obligation as a parent is taking care of your kids. This includes being a part of their lives and participating in raising them. It also includes providing for their financial needs. This is where child support comes into divorce and custody cases.
As the name implies, these payments are intended to cover the cost of the regular necessities of a child’s life. This includes, but isn’t limited to, food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and more. In most cases, the payments continue until the child turns 18-years-old or graduates from high school. There are, however, instances where it extends beyond those boundaries. Most often, these situations involve post-secondary education or the need for some type of ongoing care.
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How is Child Support Determined?
Many areas of family law are open to interpretation and vary a great deal from court to court and judge to judge. The division of property and spousal support are two examples. Though there is some wiggle room, child support usually follows a more rigid pattern.
In fact, child support initially uses a strict formula that resembles a math equation. It accounts for numerous factors, but essentially, you plug in a collection of variables and get an amount. Things like the number of overnight visits, parenting time, income, other children you support, and additional fees, expenses, and obligations influence the ultimate amount.
As usual, when it comes to family law matters, child support is rarely quite as simple as it appears. Like with your taxes, there are a number of loopholes, exemptions, and exceptions to many of these rules. And just like you may want to have a professional look over those documents before you sign, it’s likely in your best interests to have an experienced attorney look over your case before you make it official. Even if you’re Blake Griffin. Once in place, child support modification, while possible, is often expensive and difficult. Make sure you handle it right the first time.
If you have questions about your case, contact Goldberg Jones at our Seattle office.
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