Kevin Costner’s Divorce Highlights the Difference Between Child Support Demands and Awards

Posted by Joseph Lento | Nov 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

Nearly everyone knows Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner, the star of the blockbuster movie “Dances with Wolves” and the hit television show “Yellowstone.” But lately, Costner received more publicity for his acrimonious divorce, which played out in a California courtroom. Costner and his wife of 18 years, Christine Baumgartner, split up and fought over everything, including support for their three teenage children. Since Costner is a wealthy Hollywood star, didn't he have to pay whatever Baumgartner wanted? Well, no, because that's not how it works, whether the divorce is in California or Pennsylvania. Monthly child support amounts are determined based on a number of factors. A parent, even if he or she is a movie star, does not have to write a blank check. A parent does, however, have a responsibility to support his or her children.

If you are seeking child support, are concerned about paying a possible support order, or want to challenge an existing order, you need experienced legal counsel. The LL Law Firm and its Family Law Team can help you through what can be stressful and confusing domestic relations proceedings. The firm can help regardless of your location in Pennsylvania. Get in touch with our office at 888-535-3686 or use this online form.

Costner and Baumgartner Spar over Child Support

According to a news report, Baumgartner filed for divorce from Costner, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason, and asked for child support of $248,000 a month. Costner took the position that Baumgartner had to move out of the marital home since the couple's prenuptial agreement stated that she had 30 days to leave in the event of a divorce. Baumgartner said she would not move out until Costner paid her requested child support amount, the news article said.

A judge hearing the divorce case in California's Santa Barbara County ruled that Baumgartner had to follow the terms of the prenuptial agreement and move out of the house. Baumgartner then lowered her child support request to $217,000 a month. The court issued a temporary order directing Costner to pay $129,755 a month until an evidentiary hearing could be held on the final sum, the news report said.

In the meantime, Costner unsuccessfully offered Baumgartner $75,000 a month in child support, and the two proceeded to the hearing. The judge awarded Baumgartner $63,209 a month for the children, according to the news article.

If You Are Involved in a Child Support Matter You Need Skillful Legal Counsel

As the Costner-Baumgartner case shows, the amount of money one party requests for child support does not always match the amount a court awards. In addition, the sum a judge awards may be less than the figure the other party proposed in a settlement offer. Child support matters can be complicated, and they almost always cause a lot of anxiety for both parties. If you or a family member need child support, are facing a support request, or desire to change a support order, you need to know all of your options. The LLF Law Firm and its Family Law Team know those options and will guide you through the maze of domestic relations court. The firm can assist you no matter where you are in Pennsylvania. Reach out to our office at 888-535-3686 or use this online form.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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