Can You Get More Child Support For “Living Life”?

custody battle

Many may know Tyrese Gibson from his role in the Fast and the Furious movies. He has been a successful actor and recently had a new baby with his current wife Samantha. But his ex-wife, Norma, is currently in a child support battle with him, and as with many Hollywood matters, it has gotten ugly.

Norma has taken Tyrese back to court so she can receive more child support. In court filings, Tyrese revealed that during a deposition, Norma indicated that “living life” is her real and current job, one that requires seven hours of babysitting a day for an eleven-year-old girl. Norma stated that she is working on writing a book, but she admits she has not pursued other employment.

Tyrese argues that he should not have to support Norma’s lifestyle forever, just because he is a celebrity or someone who has more income, and that Norma should be pursuing employment. Is Tyrese correct?

If this case played out in a Missouri court, absolutely.

We are not aware of any statute or case in Missouri that allows a court to increase child support or spousal support for “living life.”

In Missouri, if a parent wants to modify child support, the parent must show that one or both of the parties have had a substantial change in income (increase or decrease), or that expenses for the child have substantially changed (up or down). A change that would result in at least a 20% higher or lower child support amount is considered a prima facie basis for modifying child support.

Norma would have to show that her expenses have substantially increased to justify an increase in child support. It would seem from her lavish lifestyle she has higher bills, but she would have to show how those expenses are necessary and relate to the care of the child.

Norma could also rely on a change in income. However, it seems Tyrese has had financial issues and may not be earning as much as he had previously. But assuming his income had increased, that could be a factor in computing child support.

But the court also has a duty to look at Norma and her efforts to pursue work. If a parent has the ability to work, that parent has a duty to pursue employment consistent with that person’s education, skills, experience, and training. A parent cannot simply choose not to work without consequence – a court will impute income to the parent based on their educational background and work history.

So, if you want an increase in child support in Missouri, best not to plead “living life” as your occupation.

If you have questions about modifying child support, contact us – we can help.