I try to not make this blog personal. I’ve shared some personal moments, and personal feelings, but I like to avoid topics that affect my personal life directly.
What I can not do though is ignore what’s always worked for me.
When a topic keeps popping up it is time to address it here – with this one I hope that I just do the topic justice.
Details of the Kobe/Vanessa Bryant financial settlement hit the news this week. I am troubled by the anger so many men seemed to have that Vanessa will get in the vicinity of $75 million in money and money-like settlement and property valued at about $18 million.
|Kobe should have had a prenup|
On the web and in personal conversations almost ALL of the men that I talked to about this had the same reaction: She was not on the court making jump shots so why should she get half of the money generated from those jump shots?
Then a very good friend that I find otherwise incredibly intelligent said: It doesn’t take 75 million to raise two daughters.
Only 2 of the men in these conversations make over $100 a year. Most of the men bitching (and yes it is bitching) are just your average working men. Not one of the men are in the neighborhood of Kobe Bryant in current income and future earning potential. The perception of these men is clouded by how much half of $40,000 per year would cramp their lifestyle. I get that, but it does not make it right.
Let me start off by saying I think that every couple considering marriage should have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to saying “I Do”. Yes even you run of the mill $40,000 working men. Why do you need a prenuptial? To protect and prevent. You buy car and home insurance right? Don’t want your ex wife to be able to cash in on your Verizon pension? Get a prenup. Don’t want to have to absorb your husband’s debt in a divorce? Get a prenup.
If you are a 20 year old professional athlete and prodigy who has the earning potential in the hundreds of millions of dollars marrying a girl you met on a music video shoot? Get a prenup. I have no sympathy for Kobe when he had the means to protect his then current and future financial assets and chose not to, that is on him.
Without a prenup in place? The laws of the state they live in are what they are and that is why Vanessa got what she got.
Kobe didn’t have to marry Vanessa, he certainly didn’t have to marry her without a prenup, and he didn’t have to be unfaithful to the point that she decided it was time to get out of the marriage.
Do I think she should have expected infidelity? Eh. It is not impossible for a professional athlete to be monogamous, it is just unlikely. At the age the two of them married I highly doubt that they had a detailed conversation about the sexual boundaries of the relationship. There was that time period after Eagle, Colorado when they could/should have revisited the topic, but only the two of them know if they did, what they agreed on, and how to handle the monogamy question.
I will say that if a woman wishes to have a monogamous relationship, then she should probably not get involved with men who are unlikely to be monogamous. You can’t date a rapper (Emily B), a football player (Evelyn Lozada), a basketball player (Tami Roman), or a wise guy (Renee Graziano), and think that the opportunity for promiscuity ceases to exist because you are going steady or got married. You need to be real about the possibilities and not walk into that situation if you can not handle the possibilities.
Back to the money though:
So Vanessa gets half based on the laws of the state of California. The question then becomes from my otherwise intelligent men – why does he have to pay child support?
Because he is the biological father of children under the age of 18.
Child support is about the children not suffering because the parents are not cohabitating. Child support is about the non custodial parent contributing to the growth, security, and development of the minor child.
Child support is not about well she already got $75 million why does she need more money?
Because each parent is responsible to contribute to the growth, security, and development of a minor child on an on-going basis.
My friend says that he can’t understand why (insert various celebrities paying child support here) has to pay $75,000 a month in child support.
Does it take $75,000 a month to raise a child?
The answer to that honestly is maybe.
Let’s take Kobe & Vanessa’s kids while I have their picture up.
While the two of them were married the children had unlimited and unfettered “access” to the money in the household. Now we know that at the girls ages they are tapping the ATM machine. What that means is that as long as Kobe & Vanessa are married the children are going to live a certain lifestyle. These are not children going to public school and taking public transportation.
Should the children’s lifestyle be altered financially because mom and dad aren’t married any longer?
The amount of child support Kobe pays in a month is in part about those girls having to suffer as little as possible because the parents are no longer married.
For Kobe that number could be $75,000 a month, for my working class friend, that number could be $500 a month.
A non custodial parent has to step out of their feelings and realize that children cost money.
I’ve had the argument that child support should not be used to pay utilities or rent.
If you are a custodial parent you understand:
Would you pay rent without having a child? Sure. But would you be paying rent on a 1 bedroom apartment or 2 bedroom apartment?
Would you have to pay the electric bill without having a child? Sure. But that child uses electric too. Lights in their room, their television, washing their clothes, ironing their shirts.
Would you have to put gas in your car without a child? Sure. But with a child you have trips to and from school or daycare that you would not otherwise take, you have trips to the movies, trips to the doctor when they have a cold, trips to the mall because they outgrew the shoes you bought two months ago.
These are examples for us regular folk.
Kobe’s daughters? Are accustomed to having nannies, drivers, private schools, designer clothing, exclusive toys, security……does all of that get paid for with $3,000 a month? Should those girls have to have their lifestyle altered? Should that ONLY come Vanessa’s part of the divorce settlement? Let’s be real.
Before we get up in our feelings about how much money Kobe has to pay out…let’s look at the bigger picture.
Let’s step away from the woman bashing and start understanding that the choices we make always cost us something.