Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Reach Settlement on Child Support

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reached a divorce settlement in record breaking time. However, Katie, who really only wanted her freedom, is walking away with nothing more than child support for the pair’s six year old daughter, Suri. Per their agreement, Tom has to pay Katie $400,000 per year as child support, which is approximately $33,000 per month. Under the law, Katie was entitled to more in child support from Tom, who is reportedly worth $250 million but they wanted to settle quickly.

In California, there is a statewide guideline at provides a formula for calculating child support. Guideline support depends on several factors including each party’s respective monthly incomes, the number of children and the percentage of time the children spend in the respective parent’s physical custody. In the case of the Cruise family, Katie accepted a below guideline amount. Parties can sometimes agree to a child support award below the guideline amount, subject to approval by the court.

The court cannot approve of a below guideline amount unless the parties declare that they are fully informed of their rights with respect to child support, they are agreeing to the order without coercion or duress, the agreement is the children’s best interest, the children’s needs will be adequately met by the stipulated amount, and the right to support has not been assigned to any county and no public assistance application is pending. (See Cal. Fam. Code Section 4065(a)). The court may still reject any agreement between parents that does not provide adequate support for the children involved. However, in this particular case it is clear that Suri’s needs will be adequately met, given that her father is worth millions.

There are many issues surrounding setting and modifying child support. At Mello & Pickering, LLP we can inform you of your rights with regard to child support and assist you with obtaining appropriate orders. Call us at (408) 288-7800 for a free 20 minute phone consultation or to set up a one hour, in person meeting at our office.