Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Millionaire looking to reduce socialite's child support payments

Many Salt Lake City residents know that alimony reform is gaining ground in the few states that have yet to change their older laws. Reform in another area commonly associated with divorce is increasing daily. Child support, while one of the most important institutions for children, is also one of the most devastating for thousands if not millions of parents across the United States. Like older alimony laws, current child support guidelines adversely affect many payers to the point where they have no income to sustain themselves. Some have even found ways to abuse the institutionalized child support calculator used by many states, when determining child support.

Mountaineer, socialite and mother Annabelle Bond stands accused by her ex-boyfriend of hiding money to increase her child support payments. The case is complicated by the fact that the child support decree was given in a Hong Kong court, and the current action is against Ms. Bond's new boyfriend and not her. The complaint filed by her ex alleges her new boyfriend conspired with her to hide money and avoid U.S. gift taxes by presenting before the Hong Kong court that the money he had given to her were loans instead of gifts. This led to the court awarding the mountain climber $50,000 a month in child support, one of the largest awards in the court's history.

If fraud can be proven, it may be possible for the child support determination to be altered. In the interplay between U.S. law and Hong Kong's, it is not clear which law will trump, and what ultimate effect that will have on the child's parents.

All too often courts wash their hands of any matter that involves more than the amount to be paid and to whom. At the end of the day child support is ultimately supposed to be for the benefit of the child, not to improve the lifestyle of the parent.

Source: The New York Times, "Millionaires Clash Over Socialite's Child Support Claims," Peter Lattman, April 25, 2013.

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