Courtroom Drama Over Child Support Unfolds in Santa Barbara
In Santa Barbara, California, a notable courtroom spectacle ensues between Kevin Costner, the renowned “Yellowstone” star, and his estranged wife, Christine Baumgartner. The dispute: the hefty child support amount that Christine is claiming post their split.
Christine’s Financial Claims
During the hearing on Thursday, Costner and Baumgartner were observed arriving at the courthouse for a child-support hearing set to deliberate on Christine’s initial ask of a whopping $175,057 per month. This marked a significant leap from the already considerable $129,000 monthly amount she currently receives from the actor.
Christine’s attorney, John Rydell, made an opening statement clarifying their revised request: a still formidable sum of $161,592 monthly. This adjustment came after a recent assessment by a forensic accountant. Notably, this figure stands in stark contrast to Costner’s proposed figure of $60,000 per month.
Legal documents obtained by PEOPLE cite the findings of the forensics team. According to them, Kevin Costner’s average cash flow available for child support for the years 2021 and 2022 amounted to a staggering $19,248,467 annually, translating to about $1,604,039 monthly. With such figures, and factoring in a 50/50 parenting time split, the proposed guideline for child support aligns with the significant monthly sum of $175,057, which the documents note as being “presumptively correct under California law.”
Behind the Scenes of a Family in Transition
The couple, who have been together for nearly two decades, are parents to three children: sons Cayden (16) and Hayes (14), and daughter Grace (13). After 18 years of marriage, Christine filed for divorce earlier this year and subsequently moved out of their family abode.
With emotions running high, Christine, during the hearing, took the court through a journey of their lavish lifestyle. She mentioned how luxury was “in their DNA” and elaborated on the array of activities their children partake in and the properties the family possesses. Referring to the Santa Barbara compound she once called home, she fondly described it as a haven complete with a volleyball court, garden, infinity pool, two guest houses, and even a “surf garage.” Here, as she poignantly shared, “We create whatever we can dream up in here.”
A court document emphasized Christine’s intent to “uphold these Family Law principles” ensuring the children continue to enjoy the lifestyle that Kevin’s earnings made possible. Further emphasizing the actor’s wealth, the document states Costner’s accounts had a collective sum of $17,293,117 as of mid-2023.
Should Christine’s claim be approved, it will be made effective retroactively from July 1. The legal paperwork further elaborates on the essence of child support, aiming to ensure the children experience a lifestyle with their mother akin to what they enjoy with their father.
A Prenuptial Agreement and the Road Ahead
Upon announcing their split, Costner’s representative expressed deep regret over the circumstances that led to this situation. Amidst this financial and emotional turmoil, Christine is legally entitled to $1.5 million, as stipulated in their prenuptial agreement, which she claims to have been coerced into signing.
In recent times, Costner was spotted in Santa Barbara post a trip from Glasgow, Scotland. As for Christine, sources convey her determination to ensure everyone’s well-being and happiness.
As the proceedings unfold, the focus remains on the well-being of their three children, the collateral in this high-stakes courtroom drama.