Divorce Lawyer Breaks Down Halle Berry's Child Support Situation

Many have been a little bewildered by Halle Berry's child support payment saga since she posted her long (since deleted) Instagram caption in February 2021. Under a graphic that said, "Women don't owe you sh*t," Berry called the $16,000 a month she got ordered to pay her ex Gabriel Aubry to support their daughter Nahla, "extortion" and "WRONG," among other things. Some commenters may not have found her arguments convincing, but someone clearly did because the latest news is that her monthly payments have now been cut in half. Sort of.

To help us figure out what exactly is happening here, Nicki Swift asked LA celebrity divorce attorney Peter Walzer, of Walzer Melcher, to break it down. "Halle is not the only high-profile star paying thousands of dollars a month in child support. Britney Spears' ex, Kevin Federline, reportedly asked for $60,000 a month for supporting their two children, unable to get by on the $20,000 monthly support," Walzer told Nicki Swift, adding, "Raising two children is expensive, especially in this town but, come on, child support should not be used so that a broke parent can lead the lifestyle of the rich and famous."

That seems to be one of the points Berry tried to drive at in her post, though some might find it hard to see where the implied gender discrimination comes in. Walzer noted that legally speaking — the only thing that matters here is the formula.

Halle Berry's new deal might not be as good as you think

So what's going on with Halle Berry's child support payments? "The algebraic formula that child support is based is gender neutral. If you elect to have a child with someone who earns less than you do, you will end up paying child support," Peter Walzer explained to Nicki Swift. "In California, child support is based principally on the relative incomes of the parents, and the amount of time they each spend with the child. The underlying principle behind the child support formula, is that the child should share the same lifestyle as the wealthier parent."

Things do get a little more complicated when you factor in the fact that in cases of "extraordinary" income — between three and five million at least in Los Angeles — the court may deviate from the guidelines. "Because Halle's income fluctuates, the court ordered base support of $8,000, plus a percentage of earnings above $1.95 million per year," Walzer noted.

That means that although Berry's baseline monthly payments got reduced from $16,000 to $8,000, what she actually winds up paying might change. "This new order benefits Halle in that her monthly payment is not as high as it was in the past, but in the long run, depending on her annual income, the child support could be the same or more," Walzer said.