Despite rumors that Brad and Angelina have prepared for a bitter custody battle, the duo has commenced settlement negotiations. The reported major issues to be decided by the couple are custody and access, temporary and final support obligations from Brad to Angelina and the children, as well as the division of their assets. As TMZ reports, the couple is well on their way to resolving the issue of Brad's temporary support obligations.
Temporary support obligations are put into place after the commencement of proceedings, but before the final resolution of a matter. They can be for a set period of time, or may be put into place until a final Order is made on a particular issue. As such, temporary orders do not resolve issues on a final basis, or dismiss a person's claim in respect of the issues ordered upon.
Although temporary orders are often made without prejudice and do not resolve an issue on a final basis, they still have a great deal of significance in family law proceedings. For example, temporary support orders can form the foundation for a final settlement or a significant period of time may elapse between the granting of a temporary order and the final resolution of an issue. In certain circumstances, the parties may abandon or delay the litigation, and the temporary order may be in place much longer than intended by the Court or the parties.
Another issue facing the parties on a temporary basis is the quantum of Brad's support obligations. Brad earns an extremely high income, and he would fall into the category of a "high income earner" if he resided in Ontario. High income earners are those who earn above $150,000.00 for child support purposes, and above $350,000.00 for spousal support purposes. In these scenarios, the legislation provides there is a basis for straying from the guidelines provided for in the Child Support Guidelines, or the Spousal Support Guidelines respectively. However, there is also case law which suggests these guidelines should generally be followed.
Although Angelina is a high income earner herself, if Angelina has the children in her care for 60% of the time or more, this may not impact Brad's child support obligations, since child support is the right of the child. However, if the couple agrees to a shared parenting arrangement, then Brad and Angelina's child support obligations may be "set off" against one another. This means that the couple will calculate what each of them would have to pay to the other in child support, and the difference will be payable by Brad to Angelina. However, this would only be a starting point for determining the appropriate support amount overall. Depending on the needs of the children and the particulars of the parenting arrangement, the final amount could range from the set-off amount to the full amount pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines.
Though Brad and Angelina are reportedly resolving the issues of temporary support payments, both parties will want to ensure the Order meets their needs and the children's needs not only on a short term basis, but for a potentially longer term should the litigation last longer than anticipated.