Call of Duty and Support Obligations
Call of Duty creator, Vincent Zampella, is divorcing his wife of 18 years and rumour has it that Zampella's soon-to-be ex-wife is seeking spousal support and primary custody of their 3 children.
Zampella and Jason West, co-creators of the popular video game Call of Duty, ended a 2-year legal battle with Activision, the game's publisher, in 2012 when they agreed on a sizeable settlement. Zampella and West initiated the lawsuit after being fired and the dispute was primarily centered around ownership rights and royalties from the game, which earned Activision approximately $11 billion.
Since the terms of settlement with Activision were kept confidential, we can only speculate that the settlement may have consisted of some lump sum payment and possibly some ongoing payments in place of royalties. In light of Zampella's pending divorce, questions will certainly arise as to how the settlement money from Activision will be treated for the purposes of Zampella's family matter.
If Zampella's family matter were heard in Ontario, Canada, any remaining settlement money from former employer Activision would have been part of Zampella's net family property when he separated. The parties' combined net family property would then be equalized so that each spouse would be entitled to half of the value of their combined net family property.
Additionally, if Zampella receives royalties or other payments on an ongoing basis pursuant to the settlement, those payments would be considered income for the purpose of determining the amount of spousal and child support he will pay. For this reason, the structure of settlements in employment disputes can have important family law consequences.