Photo of Karen Lavin

Many Illinoisans may know about the Oscar-winning actress, Halle Berry from her many film roles. But they may not know that Berry is becoming a family-law veteran.

Her experience is the result of a relationship she had with an ex-boyfriend. As part of the relationship, the couple had a six-year-old daughter. The couple had a custody dispute a couple years ago. During the dispute, Berry tried to move the daughter to France, but was ultimately blocked by a judge.

Berry’s latest legal experience involves child support. A judge recently approved a settlement between the two. According to reports, the agreement requires Berry to pay her ex-boyfriend more than $15,000 a month. Added up over the course of a year, that comes out to just shy of $200,000 a year.

The settlement also directed Berry to pay more than $400,000 in retroactive costs. She will have to pay her ex-boyfriend more than $100,000 and his attorneys $300,000.

Those numbers may sound outlandish to the typical Illinoisans, but the amount is the product of the same process all Illinoisans go through. That process bases the child-support amount on state child-support guidelines. These guidelines, in turn, are based primarily on the number of children, the non-custodial parent’s income and several other factors, including the needs of the children and the custodial parent’s income.

These guidelines are firm, but not necessarily set in stone. For example, Berry’s case highlights that a high income does not justify a downward deviation. The reason is because children have a legal right to benefit from each of their parents’ incomes.

Illinoisans who need to enforce a child-support order or get it reduced may benefit from discussing their options with an experienced family-law attorney.

Source: ABC News, “Halle Berry To Pay $16,000 Each Month In Child Support,” June 9, 2014