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Child Support Ruling Overturned in Favor of Former NFL Star

By Sheryl Rentz on November 27, 2008

Michael Booth wrote in the New Jersey Law Journal on August 27, 2008 that Michael Strahan a former New York Giants defensive end won his appeal against an $18,000 monthly child support ruling imposed on him in his 2006 divorce. Ruling in his favor that this was ‘exorbitant and unfairly apportioned’ against him was the New Jersey appellate court. The appellate court indicated that the trial judge failed to make the specific findings of fact necessary to sustain his decision to add $200,000 a year to the $35,984 annual award the couples twin girls are due under statutory guidelines.

Acknowledging that children of high-earning families pose distinctive problems in regards to their reasonable needs, the court said trial judges should avoid overindulgence – citing the doctrine of In re Patterson, 920 P.2d 450 (Kan. App. 1996), that “no child, no matter how wealthy the parents, needs to be provided [with] more than three ponies.”

The appellate court also found error in the trial judge’s burdening of Strahan with 91 percent of the child support obligation; while not considering any income to Strahan’s former wife, Jean. Jean is a college educated woman with two degrees and held a former professional career when she met Strahan in 1994. She has voluntarily chosen not to work. In 1995 they moved in together and she resigned from her job. Signing a prenuptial agreement the couple married in 1999 and their twin girls were born in 2004.

The New Jersey appeals court agreed with Strahan that Essex County Superior Court Judge James Convery made a mistake when he failed to make a detailed examination of Jean Strahan’s child support request and instead simply accepted her recitation of the children’s needs. The appellate court also said “There is no question that as a healthy, educated, forty-one year-old, defendant is capable of earning her own income.”

Divorce proceedings and distribution of assets can be messy business. These are cases that must be treated with dignity and sensitivity. The Pennsylvania child support attorneys at the Law Office of Sheryl R. Rentz has years of experience in successfully handling child support and spousal support as well as prenuptial agreements. We will help you sort through the legal process and paperwork at a time when sorting though your life and spending time with your children can be your top priority. Call us today at (610) 645-0100 for a free and confidential consultation.

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