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Paying child support is not optional, but these dads think it should be

Paying child support is not optional, but these dads think it should be

In her Boston Globe article, the writer Ruth Graham made a compelling case about how deadbeat dads can still be good dads. Per the article, the child support system is outdated because it was created during a different economy and thus must be updated to be fair to today's parents.

The article also pointed out that while it makes sense for middle-class and high-income men to simply pay up, low-income fathers face greater struggles in paying child support. However, there’s a certain type of fathers whose duty to support their children should not be up for debate, and that is celebrity fathers most of whom are not low-income earners.

To be fair, there is such a thing as a pay gap — this is why for the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio got paid $10 million while his co-star Jonah Hill only received $60,000. You’ll be pleased to know that neither actors are deadbeat dads for the very simple reason that neither of them has offsprings. Meanwhile, these celebrity fathers who do have kids have attempted to get out of paying child support for various reasons.

The Daddy’s funds have dried up

Brendan Fraser had a massively successful career as an actor throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s. He starred in the blockbuster cinematic masterpieces about the history of ancient Egypt, The Mummy trilogy. Those movies made millions of dollars and so did the actor. But when the film took the titular mummy to China, the film’s popularity dried up, and Brendan Fraser was never heard from again...

Actually, that’s not true. He continued starring in films albeit ones that didn’t make as much money as The Mummys. And he may have tried to leverage the relative obscurity of his late-career work to get out of paying child support payments to his ex-wife Afton Smith. In 2013, Mr. Fraser appealed to a Connecticut court to reduce his $900,000 annual child support payments, claiming that he had run out of money and that his Mummy monies had dried up.

The mommy of his kids wasn’t too pleased with his plea and countered that he was still raking in millions of dollars. She accused him of hiding around $9 million worth of film contracts and sued him for fraud. Ms. Smith’s accusation may have rung true at the time, but recent news about Mr. Fraser’s troubles in Hollywood shows that his career did indeed take a downturn and he had been earning much less.

Ludicrous demands

Ludacris, also known as Christopher Bridges, is a rapper, actor, and entrepreneur who has income streams from various sources. In 2014, he fathered a child with a woman named Tamika Fuller while he and then girlfriend-now-wife Eudoxie Mbouguienguewere were “on break.” After establishing the paternity of the child, the rapper made sure that he would pay only what’s reasonable.

Courts determine the amount of child support payments using a support schedule (here is Washington State’s Child Support Schedules), with the computation largely based on the parent’s income. Ms. Fuller, fully aware of her baby daddy’s celebrity status, demanded $15,000 in monthly child support payments. Based on legal docs, Luda was only obligated to pay around $1,700 per month.

Celebrity baby daddies who find themselves in a similar situation would be well-served doing what Mr. Bridges did: file legal documents to determine the fair amount of child support payments. Under no circumstances should you lie about not having any more work. Lying about your income would be easily disproved when your new movie (if you’re an actor) or album (if you’re a rapper) comes out.

The Mailman refuses to deliver child support checks

Two-time MVP Karl Malone was one of the most celebrated basketball players in the history of the NBA. He played from 1985-2004 and received numerous awards during this period. He was much revered and respected, and also highly paid — he reportedly made $100 million throughout his NBA career.

He was nicknamed “The Mailman” because he consistently delivered athletic excellence on the court — not so when it comes to his fatherly duties. He was specifically not delivering child support checks to Gloria Williams with whom he had a son in the ‘80s.

While it’s understandable for big stars and athletes to fight against paternity fraud, Mr. Malone was proven to be the father of Ms. Williams’ child. What’s even more astonishing is that the amount he was asked to pay was a measly $200. One could say that the child support payments demand letters delivered to The Mailman’s home were returned to sender. And that is why the Utah Jazz MVP could never win Father of the Year.

Family law attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams deliver legal services to those who are dealing with child support payment issues in the Evergreen State. No need to send us a snail mail – call our Renton offices or leave us a message.