Take it from me: Divorce is really, really expensive, especially in California. The news recently broke that Kobe and Vanessa Bryant have reconciled. If you’re wondering how much Kobe would have to pony up if he and Vanessa Bryant couldn’t get back together, you might want to keep reading. You also might want to sit down.
Kobe would obviously have to pay child support for his two daughters, Natalia and Gianna. As required by federal law, California uses a formula to calculate child support. The most important factors in determining child support are the incomes of the spouses and the timeshare each spouse has with the children.
As Kobe and Vanessa did not sign a prenuptial agreement, Kobe would also have to pay spousal support to Vanessa. In California, the higher-earning spouse can be expected to support the lower-earning spouse for half the length of the marriage in many cases. However, once a marriage hits 10 years, it’s a totally different ball game. A 10-year marriage is considered a long-term marriage and a California judge can award spousal support indefinitely. Vanessa and Kobe crossed that 10-year threshold around the time Vanessa initiated divorce proceedings, meaning Kobe might have had to pay spousal support for the rest of Vanessa’s life (ouch).
So what are we looking at in terms of child and spousal support?
According to Forbes, Kobe’s annual income is somewhere in the neighborhood of $53.2 million dollars. Assuming that he has 50/50 custody of his two daughters, Kobe would have to pay somewhere near $365,000 in child support under the California Guideline. He also would probably have to pay somewhere around $1,000,000 in spousal support.
These are not annual figures. These are monthly estimates.
Also, Kobe would qualify as an extraordinarily high-income earner under California law, which means that he could argue that his two daughters don’t need $365,000 per month because … what kids need $365,000 per month?
On the other hand, under California law, children are allowed to share in the lavish lifestyles of their parents. Kobe’s daughters may not need Maseratis or Ferraris, but they are entitled to have Papa Kobe shell out for things like private school tuition, ponies, music lessons, etc.
I didn’t mention property division. Kobe and Vanessa were married on April 18, 2001. Under California law, every penny Kobe earned from basketball or endorsements from the date of marriage to the date of separation is considered community property. It’s half Kobe’s and half Vanessa’s. That also applies to every mansion, car, yacht, or private jet that the either party purchased with community money.
Andrew J. Botros is an attorney with the Law Office of James D. Scott, a San Diego law firm. The Law Office of James D. Scott specializes in high-asset and high-income family law matters, with a niche representing professional athletes in divorce and paternity cases.
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