Jon Cryer to pay child support"Life isn't fair!" You must have heard your mother say this a thousand times when you were growing up. This saying can be especially true with regards to California's divorce laws and statutes.
Actor Jon Cryer first achieved fame during the 80s when he starred with Molly Ringwald in the movie "Pretty in Pink." His career was quiet for a decade or so until he resurfaced in the very popular sit-com Two and a half Men'.
He married in 2000 and had a son with his wife, Sarah. They divorced in 2004 and Sarah was awarded custody of their son two-thirds of the time while Jon had him one-third of the time. Sarah was awarded $10,000 per month in child support from Jon.
Sarah hit some rough times in 2009. Her only income was the money she received from Jon for their son. Later her son was removed from her care by child protective services and handed over to Jon. Since Jon had physical custody of his son, he felt he should have to pay his ex-wife $10,000 per month.
Jon and his family law attorney took Sarah to court to have his child support reduced. Jon was earning between half a million and $800,000 every month. Sarah and her attorney argued that she would be impoverished without the support and would not be able to supply a decent home for their son when he was in her care. The family law court decided to reduce Mr. Cryer's child support to $8,000 per month and further ordered him to pay $60,000 towards Sarah's attorney's bills.
According to the court, "Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability." The court also ruled that the earning parent has an obligation to "support his minor children according to the parent's circumstances and station in life."
One detail that the court stated over and over was that the child was placed with Jon after intervention by child protective services and that the eventual goal was the reunification of Sarah and her son, when she was in a better place.
Understandably, Jon and his divorce attorneys disagreed with the ruling stating that the child only spent 4% of his time with his mother and the other 96% of his time in his father's care. They felt that $1,141 per month was in keeping with the guidelines of family court, but the court disagreed saying this would be "unjust and inappropriate".
The court also reasoned that a drastic reduction in payment would cause Sarah to lose her home and negatively affect her ability to regain primary custody of their son. The courts desire was to support reunification.
This child support case involved many court motions and orders which were expensive. Jon could have just litigated Sarah out of any chance to a fair trial. Therefore, the court argued, the fee awarded for legal fees put Sarah on an equal playing field.
Although this family law case was highly unusual, it is important to note the court's decision forcing the primary custodian of the child to pay child support to the non-custodial parent. The amount of income earned by Jon was a definite factor in the decision.
Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
If you believe a change in situation has occurred in your life and your child custody order should be re-examined, please contact a reputable family law attorney in your state.