Sunday, June 29, 2014

Halle Berry ordered to pay $16,000 a month in child support

Remember in 2011 during Halle Berry ‘s interview with Extra, where she spoke about how she and former flame Gabriel Aubry had “happily” resolved their custody issues…well a few years later the narrative got much more heated.
Quick recap: the Oscar winning actress, and the Canadian model met and starting dating in 2005.  Nahla, their daughter was born in 2008 and the couple seemingly amicably split in spring 2010. Although an initial custody agreement was reached in 2011, things went downhill quickly during a physical altercation on Thanksgiving 2012 between Aubry and Berry's  husband, Olivier Martinez when Aubry came to Berry's home to drop off  Nahla.
After a lengthy court battle on May 30, 2014,  Los Angeles Superior Court ordered the now mother of two, to pay over $16,000 in child support each month to her ex, Gabriel Aubry, to provide for their now 6-year-old daughter Nahla. Although they both have equal shared custody, Berry’s payments will continue until Nahla graduates high school or reaches her 19th birthday, whichever occurs first.

Berry has also been ordered to pay Aubry’s legal fees equaling $300,000 and $115,000 in retroactive child support.

This often leads to questions:  Why is a woman ordered to pay child support?
Answer: Child support laws are - for the most part -gender neutral.

If they have shared custody, why is she paying child support?
Answer: If there is a vast inequity in incomes, the court can - and often will - order support to balance out the child's homes.  There should not be a vast disparity between the homes.  In addition, celebrity children often need additional expenses that non-celebrity children do not.  One of these expenses might be bodyguards to protect them from the constant crush of paparazzi.  Every case is different.

In Georgia, we do not tend to see these massive support awards, but it is important to remember that equal parenting time does not always equal no child support.

Sources:  People Magazine ; CNN

Key words:

Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, Olivier Martinez, custody, child support, celebrity cases

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Divorce and social media: Where should the line be drawn?

At times, a person may feel frustrated or confused by the way things are proceeding during his or her divorce. In this day and age, people might turn to popular social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to vent in the hopes of receiving support from friends. The problem with this, however, is that social media content can come back to haunt someone as they move forward with divorce.
One man quickly found his claim for child custody in jeopardy after he made a comment about his divorce in a Facebook post. After making a generalized statement about losing custody, the man's ex-wife filed a successful motion for contempt of court.

Even though the man in this case didn't specifically call out the mother of his child, his words were used against him. In response to the contempt charges, the family law judge gave the man an opportunity to post a daily, prepared apology on his Facebook page or spend 60 days in jail.
According to the Huffington Post, the man complied with online apologies for a short time, but soon stopped doing so. Fortunately, the man didn't face time behind bars and was eventually granted custody, but his route probably isn't the best for every parent.

The important thing to remember is that people are watching what you say on social media. Even after the man blocked his ex-wife on Facebook, she was still able to get a hold of his post. A seemingly harmless statement made in the heat of the moment can be brought before a judge during a child custody hearing. As such, a parent could lose their claim for custody, even if they are well-suited for parenting.

It's understandable why some parents might be frustrated by the process to obtain custody, but the important thing to remember is that custody decisions will ultimately be based on the best interested of the kids. Knowing this, family courts may use any available evidence to tip the scales in favor of one parent over the other.

Regina I. Edwards

Source: The Huffington Post, "How A Facebook Post Almost Got This Dad Thrown In Jail," Jan. 24, 2014