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Be Careful What You Wish For

Many couples find themselves growing apart when one or both spouses spend too much time away from the family in pursuit of professional aspirations. In recent news, we learned that Christine Baumgartner and Yellowstone star, Kevin Costner, went through a messy divorce, with Baumgartner citing that Costner consistently put work ahead of their family leading to irreconcilable differences. The Yellowstone star was deeply saddened by the breakup and tried hard to save his marriage.

According to a Forbes Advisor survey, divorced people's most common fight with their exes wasn't about money or intimacy. It had to do with work. 46% of respondents said career choices were the biggest conflict in their marriage.

More money, more problems?

There are many reasons why some people work a lot. One reason is to maintain a certain standard of living. In the case of Baumgartner and Costner, Baumgartner reportedly asked for $248,000 a month in child support, stating in a court filing that the figure “is less than the amount needed to maintain the children in their accustomed lifestyle.” Baumgartner claimed that amount would help the kids maintain a “lifestyle relatively comparable” to the one they enjoy when they’re with their father. $248,000 per month sounds like a lavish lifestyle to me and I imagine someone would need to work long hours to afford that but hey, what do I know, I’m no rich celebrity.

In a culture that values professional success, it can seem counterintuitive to complain about a partner working too much.  Especially when one partner claims that $248,000 per month is less than the amount needed to maintain the children’s lifestyle.  

Baumgartner’s request for a large amount of child support was viewed as unrealistic by many.  Although initially the Court granted her request for $248,000 per month, after further argument by Costner’s attorneys, the court sided with Costner and ended up slashing the amount down to $63,000 a month. She lost $185,000 per month.  ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER MONTH!  and ultimately, 

Baumgartner was so upset with that huge decrease in her monthly support that she began spreading nasty lies about Costner’s bedroom prowess, shall we say.  She should probably stop that immediately before she finds herself in a different type of litigation.  

Filing for Divorce for the Wrong Reasons Can Lead To Regret

Many reports post-divorce cite that, now that Baumgartner is only receiving $63,000 per month, she has a lot of regret that she filed for divorce. It seems she thought she could walk away with $248,000 a month to maintain her lavish lifestyle, where Costner paid for everything she and her kids could ask for. But she now realizes that is not going to happen, at least not right now.

Many times, the person filing for divorce is confident they can get what they want from a divorce, whether it be money, possessions, or custody of shared children. However, greed and selfishness can sometimes backfire and cause that party to end up with far less than what they feel is fair and justified. The courts will look at the whole picture, as in the Kevin Costner divorce. He was a good father and provided well for his wife and children. By choosing to be greedy, Baumgartner will now live on far less than she had in her marriage.

Costner is cited as saying he still has “love” for his ex-wife and that divorce is a “horrible place to be.” The Yellowstone star is seen as an “amazing dad” by his fans, noting the many times he has been spotted spending quality time with his kids.

Costner said he is committed to paying what the courts have directed him to pay and is working hard to have an amicable relationship with Baurmartner. At the end of the day, this is all anyone should ask of him. Putting the well-being of the children first should always take precedence.

Although every state’s laws are different, the outcome may have been the same in New Jersey. New Jersey courts consider multiple statutory factors when calculating child support and spousal support. Income and earning potential of the parties are only two of the many factors. You should be knowledgeable about the laws that apply to your case before filing for Divorce so you don’t end up having regrets like Baumgartner. Remember, be careful what you wish for!

If you are reading this and have questions about divorce, don't go it alone. To get accurate answers around your divorce case, schedule a free 20 minute call with me to discuss your divorce case.

The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case. Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff.


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