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.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.