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What can a California spouse learn from Brendan Fraser’s divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2023 | divorce

When a California couple weds, they typically expect their marriage to last a lifetime. If that doesn’t happen, one or both spouses might determine that a breakup would be better than staying in an unhappy relationship. For many, however, such as well-known actor Brendan Fraser, divorce can spark a series of disputes, which, in Fraser’s case, mostly center around finances.  

If you are considering filing for a divorce, and especially if you are a parent who is considering it, you might want to follow the Fraser versus Smith case, which has erupted into a battle over child support. Fraser and his ex, Afton Smith, were married for nine years and have three children together.  

Fraser sought modification of a child support order 

If you finalize a divorce in a California court, and the judge issues a child support order, you and your ex must adhere to its terms, unless and until the judge grants a modification. For a judge to do this, you or your ex would first have to file a petition to request it and present just cause, meaning a legitimate reason for the request. In the Fraser versus Smith divorce, Fraser initially agreed to pay $50,000 per month.  

Sometime later, after he went from starring in movies such as “George of the Jungle,” which grossed approximately $170 million at the box office, to movies that got much lower ratings, Fraser asked the court to lower his monthly payments. His ex told the court that Fraser was trying to conceal information regarding some alleged upcoming movie deals where he would earn millions. Fraser flatly denied the claims. 

The court has the final say regarding custody or support modifications 

If you petition the court for modification of a custody or child support order, the judge overseeing your case will expect you to demonstrate just cause as to why the terms of the existing court order are no longer feasible. When an ex makes false accusations, or a set of parents disagrees about the needs of their children. Discovering the truth can be challenging.  

The most important thing to remember is that you still have an obligation to fulfill the terms of your existing court order if the judge denies your request for modification. Disregarding a court order can lead to contempt charges. If your relationship with your ex is contentious, as seems to be the case with Fraser and Smith, it is wise to build a strong support network, including someone who can advocate on your behalf when things get messy in court.