Sunday, July 6, 2014

CELEBRITY WOMEN WHO PAY GAL-IMONY by Terry Bankert Flint Divorce Attorney 810-235-1970


Thank You Gloria Steinamn.

Halle Berry’s case and others mentioned here, Madonna  , Kirstie Alley and Britney Spears are not Michigan cases or from #Flint.

Genesee Flint Michigan law of spousal support is found here using the celebrity cases as a backdrop.

Halle Berry falls in line with a growing number of women who pay child support.[3]

"The law is gender neutral and support is the right of the child not the parent," said Jonathan Wolfe, an attorney and partner with Skoloff & Wolfe. "If you are the higher wage earner, man or woman, be prepared to pay."[4]

IN MICHIGAN,The court may award spousal support as is just and reasonable if the property award is insufficient for the suitable support of either party and any children of the marriage of whom the party has custody. The court must consider “the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.” MCL 552.23(1).[5]

A 2013 Pew report found that women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children under 18. [2]

Halle Berry  is now a ranking member of an exclusive club in Hollywood: celebrity women who've had to pay their exes after their split.[3]

More than half of divorce lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers cited an increase in the number of mothers assigned to make child support payments in the past five years.[4]

The long-lived child support battle between Halle Berry and ex-lover, Gabriel Aubrey, appears to be over—for now at least.[1]

According to People, the Academy Award-winning actress has been ordered to pay Gabriel $16,000 per month in child support for their daughter, Nahla, until she either turns 19 years old or finishes high school. That’s a pretty long time considering that Nahla is only six.[1]

The Oscar-winner will fork over $200,000 per year plus tuition money for the ex-couple’s six-year-old daughter Nahla. Berry must also make a retroactive payment of $115,000 and another $300,000 to Aubry’s attorneys to cover their fees.[2]

IN MICHIGAN, Factors to be considered  in awarding spousal support include the following:
  • Past relations and conduct of the parties. How the parties conducted the marriage as well as fault in the breakdown of the marriage. Fault is only one factor and should not be assigned disproportionate weight.
  • Length of the marriage. A long-term marriage is especially relevant where one spouse has no career or marketable skills and his or her standard of living may be reduced because of the divorce.
  • Ability of the parties to work.
  • Source of and amount of property awarded to the parties.The focus is on the income-earning potential of the assets rather than their value; a spouse is not required to dissipate property awarded to meet daily needs where spousal support can be available.
  • Ages of the parties.
  • Ability of the parties to pay spousal support. Sources considered in determining the ability to pay include earnings, pension plans, unemployment compensation, tax refunds, and Social Security benefits. Ability to pay includes the payer spouse’s unexercised ability to earn if income is voluntarily reduced to avoid paying spousal support. Factors relevant to the ability to pay include (1) the parties’ employment histories, (2) reasons for any termination of employment, (3) work opportunities available, (4) diligence in trying to find employment, and (5) availability of employment.
  • Present situation of the parties.
  • Needs of the parties.
  • Health of the parties. The parties’ health is relevant to the ability to work and to the personal needs of the spouse seeking support.
  • Prior standard of living of the parties.
  • Whether either party is responsible for the support of others.
  • General principles of equity.
The court must make findings on each factor relevant to the claim before it.[5]

Berry and Aubry have been locked in a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Nahla, since 2012, the same year a judge blocked the actress from moving with their daughter to France.[3]

Halle Berry’s... shocking ruling was delivered in a Los Angeles court room on May 30. ... Halle has also been ordered to pay Gabriel $300,000 in attorney’s fees. Court documents reveal that the two share equal custody of Nahla.[1]

IN MICHIGAN, Factors relevant to the amount of support.
  • duration of the marriage
  • the parties’ contribution to the joint estate
  • the parties’ ages
  • the parties’ health
  • the parties’ stations in life
  • the parties’ necessities and circumstances
  • the parties’ earning abilities

Halle and Gabriel’s co-parenting situation certainly has not been the most ideal over the past couple of years.[1]

[T]he former couple’s 2012 Thanksgiving was stained with memories of bloodshed and a prison cell after Gabriel got into a physical altercation with Halle’s now-husband, Olivier Martinez.[1]

Aubry, 38, and Berry, 47, dated from 2005 to 2010 but never married. In 2012, the couple became involved in a custody dispute over Nahla, when a judge blocked the X-Men: Days of Future Past star from moving their daughter to France to live with her and her now-husband Olivier Martinez. The fight culminated in a physical altercation between Aubry and Martinez in November of 2012, People reported. Aubry and Berry now share equal custody of the girl, according to court documents.[2]

Because the number of female breadwinners is at a peak and more men are asking for shared custody, cases of women paying child support are likely on the rise, too. A 2012 survey of divorce lawyers in the United States found that 56 percent of attorneys saw an increase in numbers paying child support since 2009.[2]

"Courts look at income from all sources, such as earned income and income earned from their assets," Wolfe told MainStreet. "When fixing the rate of return for unearned income, courts will be guided by the actual historical returns or impute a reasonable assumed rate of return."[4]

Rehabilitative spousal support.
Rehabilitative spousal support is temporary spousal support to help the dependent spouse make the transition to self-support. It can be appropriate to
  • encourage a spouse to seek full-time employment and self-sufficiency
  • allow a spouse to complete an advanced degree or obtain a marketable skill when he or she had worked while the other spouse obtained a degree
  • allow a spouse to adjust to a lifestyle not based on combined incomes
  • allow a spouse to obtain new job skills and enter the workforce
Permanent spousal support (generally until death or remarriage).
It has been found appropriate when there is
  • a long-term marriage with a spouse who has no career or marketable skills
  • a long-term marriage, one spouse with superior earning skills, and the other spouse with questionable earning capacity
  • great discrepancy between incomes and a wife who devoted most of her adult life to homemaker role
  • serious doubt that a spouse could support himself or herself because of a disability[5]

Berry isn't the first female star to be on the hook for child support. [Others]... who had to pay big.[3]


The Material Girl's reported $76-$96 million settlement in 2008 with Guy Ritchie was considered a record payout, let alone one by a woman. Even her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, acknowledged its significance.[3]


When the marriage broke up five years later, Laffoon sought at least $33,000 a month in spousal support and custody of Homer, claiming that Heche was a poor parent with "bizarre and delusional behavior," according to a court filing obtained by People magazine. [3]


In one filing,...Kristi Alley’s husband... Stevenson asked for "sufficient support" to "maintain a lifestyle commensurate to that which Kirstie and I had enjoyed during our marriage," including $18,000 a month to pay rent on a home in Bel Air.[3]

Though Stevenson once enjoyed the spotlight, he claimed that his earnings were only a fraction of what Alley earned and he did not expect to ever approach her income. Ultimately, he settled for a one-time payout of $6 million, according to[3]


Federline was embroiled in a custody battle with Spears, who only had visitation rights to see their children. In 2008, she gave up her custody fight but gained more visiting time with the boys. At the same time, her child support payments to Federline reportedly increased by $5,000 to $20,000 a month.[3]

Spears was also on the hook for Federline's legal fees to the tune of nearly half a million dollars.[3]

What can these Ladies do now?


Modification. §§6.43–6.51.

If the court had personal jurisdiction over the payer at the time of the judgment, the court has continuing jurisdiction to revise or amend the order.

No minimum period must elapse before modification can be requested.

Retroactive modification is not available. However, the court can approve the parties’ agreement for retroactive modification.

Modification is possible only on a showing of new facts or changed circumstances since the judgment that justify a revision. The petitioner has the burden of justifying a change by a preponderance of the evidence.

Once a change in circumstances is shown, the court considers all the circumstances in deciding what modification to make.[5]
Factors indicating a change in circumstances.
  • Remarriage—can trigger modification or termination unless specifically stated otherwise in the judgment, but remarriage can be only one consideration.
  • Cohabitation—does not constitute a de facto marriage; can be relevant where it improves a spouse’s financial position.
  • Changes in need—see examples in §6.48.
  • Changes in ability to pay—see examples in §6.49.
  • Retirement—effect appears to depend on whether parties fashioned award with retirement in mind; see examples in §6.50.
  • Death of the payer—does not terminate the support obligation, which can be enforced against the estate, unless stated otherwise.[5]





Michigan Family Law Benchbook ch 6 (ICLE 2d ed 2006), at
(last updated 06/27/2014).



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