Steven Fernandez |

Child Support

When parents get divorced, one often has the obligation of paying child support. This responsibility typically falls to the parent who either (a) spends less time with the child or (b) earns more money. When actor Tyrese Gibson divorced his ex-wife, he was ordered to pay child support for their daughter. This money is intended to benefit their daughter’s health, wellbeing, and education.

Many child support agreements, including Gibson’s, include obligations to pay for childcare. Paying for childcare allows the child’s mother to go out and work to become more financially self-sufficient. In turn, she shouldn’t have to rely on Gibson’s financial assistance as much in the future.

Amounts necessary for childcare are not always set in stone, as they can change with time. Recently, Gibson has become suspicious over the rising costs of childcare demanded by his ex-wife. When he learned that his wife was hiring a babysitter at times when it wasn’t absolutely necessary, he turned to the courts for help.

Specifically, Gibson learned that his ex-wife was billing him for childcare costs while she was out “living life.” He asked a court to intervene and clarify when she can actually bill him for costs related to childcare and babysitting. Gibson had a small victory when the courts agreed that “living life” isn’t a valid reason to hire a babysitter and saddle Gibson with the costs.

Gibson Unsure When, Why, and How Often to Pay Childcare Costs

Gibson’s biggest complaint was that the court never created any hard-and-fast guidelines for (a) when he would have to reimburse his ex-wife for childcare costs and (b) how many hours he would be financially responsible for covering. He argued that his ex-wife took advantage of the vague child support order and billed him for excessive childcare costs.

In his appeal to the court, Gibson asked for itemized childcare receipts and explanations for while childcare was necessary. He believed that he shouldn’t’ have to pay for childcare if his ex-wife was not working or seeking work. If she wasn’t working, she should have the full ability to watch their daughter on her own. He did not want to pay for childcare costs generated by his ex-wife’s personal life.

During a deposition, Gibson’s ex-wife was asked why, on a particular date, she needed to hire a babysitter for 7 hours. She admitted that she was living life, which she considered a full-time job. She also argued that she had no obligation to work or find work since Gibson had enough money to take care of all his daughter’s costs on his own. She didn’t feel that she had a responsibility to tend to her daughter’s financial needs.

Court Imposes Limits to When Gibson Required to Pay for Childcare

A judge presiding over Gibson’s child support case placed a limit on which childcare expenses his ex-wife could require him to pay. Specifically, Gibson is only responsible for childcare costs incurred while she is working. Gibson cannot be forced to pay for childcare if she is running personal errands, taking care of the household, or going out to have a good time. If she chooses to spend time away from her child for non-work purposes, she’ll be required to foot the bill for a babysitter.

What exactly is work? The court didn’t specify. In fact, the judge refused to “limit the type of employment” that Gibson’s ex-wife could pursue. As a result, she could potentially argue that any attempt to generate an income or bring in money qualifies as work.

During a deposition, Gibson’s ex-wife noted that she was busy trying to write a book. She could potentially argue that writing a book is her job and that childcare costs are necessary because she has to have time to write. A court could easily agree and require Gibson to pay for a babysitter while his ex-wife writes a tell-all book.

Gibson Asks for Sole Custody

Gibson recently asked a court to award him sole custody and allow his daughter to relocate from Los Angeles to Atlanta. If his request is granted, his obligation to pay child support will change significantly. In most cases, the custodial parent is not required to pay support because they typically cover the day-to-day costs necessary for raising their child (e.g., shelter, food, clothing, transportation, etc.). Gibson’s battle over childcare costs with his ex-wife could soon be a thing of the past if he is awarded custody.

 

Child support can be a contentious part of a divorce. Many factors go into calculating support requirements. It’s always best to work with an experienced family law attorney. Contact Fernandez & Karney to find out how we can protect your financial interests and generate an outcome that helps your family. Call today to learn more.