Actor Kevin Costner has won a legal victory in his divorce court battle with his estranged wife Christine Baumgartner over the amount of child support he has to pay for their three children. A judge ruled on Friday that Costner’s monthly payments would not be increased, but rather reduced by half to $63,209.
Costner’s finances under scrutiny
The two-day hearing in Santa Barbara, California, saw Costner take the stand and testify about his income and expenses, which have been the main source of contention between the former couple. Costner, 68, revealed that he had been offered $24 million to do seasons five, six and seven of his hit show “Yellowstone”, but the deal fell through due to scheduling and creative issues. The show was eventually canceled after four seasons.
Costner also said that he had invested $20 million of his own money into two films, “Horizon” and “Horizon 2”, which are part of a planned four-part series. He claimed that he had deferred his payment of $24 million for both films to avoid overstretching the budget. “I would have liked to have it. I think anyone would but I did what I thought was right,” he told the court.
Baumgartner’s demands rejected
Baumgartner, 49, who filed for divorce from Costner in May after 18 years of marriage, had requested that the actor’s monthly child support payments be increased by $31,837 for a total of $161,592. She argued that she needed more money to maintain the lifestyle and education of their three children, Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 12.
However, the judge sided with Costner and agreed that his proposed amount of $63,209 was reasonable and sufficient. The judge also ordered Baumgartner to vacate the family home, a five-lot beachfront property in Carpenteria that is worth between $75 million and $95 million, according to her estimation. She is currently renting a home for $40,000 a month, which she said was not comparable to the one she shared with Costner.
Costner testified that he would not trade homes with his ex-wife, not because he did not think her rental was lovely, but because he had raised his children in his home and their hands were in the stone. He also praised Baumgartner for making his property beautiful and lovely during their marriage.
Costner represented by celebrity lawyer
Costner was represented by Laura Wasser, a prominent divorce lawyer who has handled cases for celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Kim Kardashian and Johnny Depp. Wasser accused Baumgartner of making unreasonable financial demands to fund her own lavish lifestyle despite having already received a $1.5 million payout as specified in their prenuptial agreement.
The divorce case is not yet finalized and there are still other issues to be resolved, such as custody and visitation rights. Costner and Baumgartner have joint legal custody of their children, but Baumgartner has primary physical custody.
Costner is also the father of four other children from previous relationships: Annie, 37, Lily, 35, Joe, 33, and Liam, 25.