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Halle Berry's child support deal is not your average settlement

Family structures and parenting have changed a great deal in Wheaton and across the country in the last few decades. Mothers traditionally have been the default custodial parent when couples separated or divorced. At one time, so few fathers were child support recipients the Census Bureau ignored them in April Current Population Surveys until 1991.

A Congressional Research Services report released in December analyzed 2011 census data to track child support patterns. Of the 14.4 million custodial parents in the U.S. that year, nearly 11.8 million were female. Male custodial parents numbered over 2.6 million.

Actress Halle Berry and her one-time boyfriend Gabriel Aubry became parents in 2008, before ending a five-year relationship in 2010. The former couple spent the last two years battling over child custody issues concerning their daughter Nahla, now 6.

The custody dispute began when a judge barred Berry from relocating her daughter to Europe in 2012. The 47-year-old star of the latest X-Men movie married in France last July – her third marriage – and gave birth to another child in October. The disagreement over Nahla's custody and support continued until a recent settlement was reached.

The former partners agreed to equal custody. Halle Berry will pay $16,000 a month for child support, her daughter's tuition fees and Aubry's $300,000 legal bill. Aubry also will receive $115,000 in back support. The parents will split health care costs.

The average yearly child support payments in 2011 were $5,160 for female custodial parents and $4,433 for males. Fathers were less likely than mothers to be owed support. Custodial dads also had about $12,000 more in annual income than mothers.

Child care costs are a priority among parents who separate and divorce in Illinois. An attorney can explain factors courts use to calculate support. Parents have the option to design their own agreement, as long a court feels the deal is fair.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Halle Berry to pay ex a hefty sum in child support settlement" Nardine Saad, Jun. 09, 2014

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