Reports surfaced today that pro-NBA player Blake Griffin has reached a settlement deal with his ex-girlfriend Brynn Cameron to pay child support of $258,000 PER MONTH for their two children. (See reports here from TotalProSports and here from TMZ.) The lawsuit, pending in California, alleges that Griffin ousted Cameron and the kids from his mansion in the California hills and made them homeless and penniless so he could carry on with reality star Kendall Jenner. Cameron, however, is savvy — she has another child with a pro-football player. She sued under California law for breach of an oral relationship contract, palimony and child support based upon her “station in life”. You see, California considers the “station in life” as a factor in setting the amount of money to be paid in a cohabitating break up. So, wealthy men should beware if you live in California.
Now, Griffin agreed to this order, so we can’t feel super sorry for him. But, I’m confident that he wouldn’t agree to something that was so far outside the realm of possibilities in court. If his lawyers thought a settlement like that would never happen in a million years in court, they wouldn’t let him agree to it. On the other hand, if there was a risk of a worse deal, then they would tell him to take it.
Move to Texas — we don’t have those kind of laws here. The lawsuit between Griffin and Cameron would never have happened in Texas. First of all, she sued him for breach of some oral contract between them for their relationship. That kind of suit is not allowed in Texas. Plus, we don’t have palimony in Texas. Palimony is where two unmarried people break up and one spouse has to pay the other monthly support post-break up, in the nature of alimony. (See Texas Family Code 8.061.) In Texas, either you’re married or you’re not. That’s it. (We also have very weak alimony laws even for married folks, contrasted to California, so consider that too in where you want to take up residence.) Texas child support laws are also more restrictive. Our standard child support guidelines are fixed to cap the amount of income that is relevant to setting child support (merely $8,550 per month in income is considered). The needs of the child (NOT luxuries, wants, or “station in life”) can be considered for extraordinary child support amounts above the guideline. Usually these types of needs include special disabilities that cause extra expenses. But, this is a rare circumstance. Private school education is the most commonly debated issued for over-guideline child support. But in Texas that is not a need, only a want or a luxury. Public school is just fine, says Texas, and private school is discretionary. If a wealthy parent wants to pay for private school, that is optional and not the business of the courts or the child support amounts. (Here’s an article from Forbes showing that California on average orders double the amount of child support over Texas’ awards.)
So Mr. Griffin, and others like you, I’d suggest looking at Texas for your main residence. We may not have the sun, sand, and beautiful weather like California does (yes, it is very hot here), but your bank account will thank you.