Arizona residents who are fans of former NFL player Michael Strahan may be aware that he was married from 1999 to 2006. He and his ex-wife have twin daughters who are now 14, and at the time, they worked out an amicable agreement for child custody and support. However, his ex-wife is now asking for back child support of $321,654 plus $225,000 for half the cost of their daughters’ horseback riding lessons.
The original divorce settlement gave his ex-wife $15.3 million. Strahan also agreed to pay $18,000 monthly in child support. In 2009, that amount was reduced to $13,000. His ex-wife is now asking that the amount be raised to $18,378. She says Strahan, who now hosts “Fox NFL Sunday” as well as having income from other sources, makes enough money that he can afford it.
Strahan’s response to the judgment says that they did agree that there could be adjustments based on cost of living, but they were not specific about the criteria that would be used to determine this. He also says that he did not agree to pay for half of the horseback riding lessons although his ex-wife says he did.
This situation highlights some of the potential problems that can arise in custody and support agreements. It is important to put in writing any significant agreements about unusual expenses, such as horseback riding lessons, private school tuition or other things outside the usual scope of child support. Furthermore, if a couple agrees on cost-of-living increases, they may want to specify how that will be determined. The challenge in creating these agreements is to get the right degree of specificity. For example, parenting agreements often include guidelines about various household rules and expectations, but if they are too rigid, this could lead to conflict.