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When $9 Million in Child Support Isn't Enough

The question of how wealth should impact child support payments will be coming to a courtroom in California this week.

Two of the now-adult children of California real estate developer Donald Bren, whose estimated $12 billion fortune earned him 16th place on the Forbes Magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, are, in tandem with their mother, suing their father for retroactive child support payments.

According to the Los Angeles Times, lawyers for the children say Bren paid their mother $10,000 a month per child in child support payments under a private arrangement. Moreover, the Orange County Register reports that Bren paid an additional $6 million as part of a court mandated settlement earlier in the decade, bringing the total paid to $9 million in all. Either way, it sounds like a lot of money — till you realize that Bren was likely spending between three and four million dollars a month on maintaining his billionaire’s lifestyle, which included multiple private plane and residences.

The children — who are 22 and 18 — say they were entitled to $400,000 a month, a figure that represents ten percent of Bren’s monthly income.

Bren’s lawyers are, not surprisingly, attempting to paint former girlfriend and mom Jennifer McKay Gold as, yes, a gold digger. Bren and McKay Gold did not maintain a monogamous relationship while they were romantically involved, but the judge presiding over the current child support case has ruled that detail irrelevant to the case.

One suspects this sad case has as much to do with emotion as money. The children’s mother reports that the Bren cased all relations with his two children by her when she terminated their relationship, going so far as refusing to acknowledge them when he ran into them on a Beverly Hills street.

Bren, 78, has four other children.

So what do you think? Do you believe child support should be based on the amount of money a child’s parents are worth and, if dad is a billionaire, that should be taken into a account when coming up with a monthly number? Or do you think there should be a stop-loss number, a determination that no child needs more than, say $10,000 a month?

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Photo: Cornishscwag

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