Just last month we brought news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s divorce and the controversy surrounding their daughter, Suri. Very soon after, they came to an agreement on many of their divorce and custody decisions, but their settlement has only recently been made public and it appears that Cruise will owe over $33,000 a month in child support.

For many people in Atlanta, paying $33,000 a month in child support would be impossible; for some people Cruise’s child support payment is more than their yearly income. But this indicates an important concept in Georgia and other states’ child support laws. Most states factor child support obligations as a certain percentage of a parent’s income, meaning Cruise, who has nearly $250 million will pay substantially more than a mother or father in Atlanta.

Though Georgia judges will still take a percentage of a non-custodial parent’s income in calculating child support, they also look at a variety of other factors, such as both parents’ incomes, how much money the custodial parent will pay for day care, health care and other costs associated with raising the children. Ultimately a Georgia family court judge will have considerable discretion in determining who will be paying what.

As for Cruise and Holmes, Cruise will be paying approximately $400,000 a year in child support alone. In addition, he will pay for Suri’s education health care and insurance.

Because of a prenuptial agreement signed before the former couple was married, Holmes will not receive spousal support, nor can she access his fortune. Though Holmes is in no way struggling for money, she does make far less than her former husband. Had she been married for 16 years instead of five, she would have been able to collect half of his $250 million.

Please see our previous post for more information on the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorce.

Source: Daily Mail, “Tom Cruise’s ‘cheap’ divorce: Katie Holmes receives just $400,000 a year in child support payments from multi-millionaire ex-husband,” Aug. 24, 2012