Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry is well known to Dallas residents and film fans across the country. Recently she has been in the news for a less than glamorous reason: a child support dispute.

Since their separation in 2010, Berry and her ex-boyfriend have been involved in heated legal proceedings over the custody and support of their daughter. They have shared custody since 2011, but child support remained a matter of contention. Now, a judge has ruled that Berry make monthly payments to her ex of more than $16,000 in child support. These payments will continue until the daughter either graduates from high school or turns 19 years old (in the event that she is still in high school at that time).

The order is retroactive, meaning Berry currently owes $115,000 per the court’s ruling. She will also provide for 100 percent of her daughter’s tuition. Berry was finally ordered to pay $300,000 in legal fees to her ex.

By this point, some of our Dallas readers’ eyes may be popping. How can one parent be expected to pay amounts like this? What if a parent cannot meet the child support obligations ordered by a court?

Texas has a child support formula on the books that takes a number of factors into consideration, including the parents’ financial situations as well as the child’s needs. A judge will not order a Dallas parent of average means to pay the same kinds of amounts as Halle Berry. Even then, the law recognizes that a parent’s ability to pay may change, due perhaps to a loss of income or other emergency expenses. Parents with a legitimate reason to do so may seek a child support modification in order to avoid penalties like jail or license suspension for delinquent payments.

A legal professional can be an asset to parents on any side of a child support issue. These can be complicated legal matters, but it is important to try to hold the best interests of the child as paramount.


Source: CNN, “Halle Berry to pay $16,000 a month in child support,” Jane Caffrey, June 10, 2014