Kevin Federline Files a Motion to Increase Child Support from Britney Spears: Financial Secrecy and Child Support
Kevin Federline has started a motion to increase his $20,000 a month child support that he had been receiving from ex-wife Britney Spears, claiming their 2 children enjoy a lavish lifestyle with her and all he can provide them with is a lifestyle that is relatively meager. He claims the children go on 5-star vacations, have an abundance of expensive toys, and a lighted tennis court due to Spears’ alleged $34 million a year income. Federline claims that his expenses are around $23,000 a month, and he earns only $3000 a month. Federline is seeking $60,000 for child support from Spears to provide their children with a lifestyle that is closer to what they have with their mother. Federline further claims that Spears refuses to provide her financial records to allow the lawyers and the court to determine a proper guideline for child support. He currently lives with his current wife with their two children. He has six children in total – two with Spears and two from a previous marriage.
Determining Child Support in Ontario
In Ontario, a parent’s child support obligations are determined in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines contains Tables that set out the basic amount of child support payable based on the payor spouse’s annual pre-tax income, the number of children, and the amount of time each parents spends with the children. The range of annual income accounted for on the Table is $8000 to $150,000.
Section 4 of the Guidelines deals with incomes above $150,000 because the courts may deem the amount of child support based on an income of $150,000 to be inappropriate for a recipient child whose paying parent earns a much larger income. In deciding how to deal with the paying parent’s income over $150,000.00, the courts will consider the conditions, means, needs, and other circumstances of the children entitled to support, as well as the financial ability of each spouse to support the children.
The courts will also consider the special and extraordinary expenses of the children, such as orthodontics, sports, dance, and child care. The Table amount for one child at an income of $150,000.00 annually is $1,263.00 per month for one child. A certain percentage of income above $150,000.00 is added to the monthly support amount where the paying parent makes more than $150,000.00 per year.
Generally, a court will prescribe the full Guidelines amount until the paying spouse’s annual income is excessively significant, where the monthly support amount could become unconscionable. For example, if Spears truly earns $34 million dollars, she would be obligated to pay $408,277.00 per month in child support for both children. However, a court will likely find that amount to be excessively high and will order a reduced amount.
Assuming Federline is correct that Spears won’t disclose her income, what would his options be in Ontario?
Rules 13(3.2) and (3.3) of the Family Law Rules require that Spears provide Federline with the financial disclosure that is necessary to understand her financial situation. The extent of disclosure that is required to understand a party’s financial situation will depend on the family’s specific circumstances.
If Federline still does not understand Spears’ financial situation after reviewing the initial disclosure, under Rule 13, he can obtain additional disclosure by requesting it via letter or email to Spears’ lawyer. If she still won’t provide the requested disclosure, Federline can bring a motion in writing for a court order requiring Spears to provide all the financial documents he needs.
Additionally, Section 19 of the Guidelines allows the courts to impute income if the support payor has failed to provide income information when under a legal obligation to do so. Imputing income allows a court to ensure that both parents meet their ongoing obligation to support their children to the extent that they are able.
The onus will be on Federline to establish whether income should imputed and if so, what amount should be imputed. Once a prima facie case for imputing income under s. 19 has been established, the responsibility will shift to Spears to justify the income position she is taking. The courts will look at, among other things, Spears’ lifestyle, any property she owns, and the couple’s spending habits when they were married.
It is likely that Federline will be granted increased child support if he obtains complete financial disclosure from Spears or if a court decides to impute income.