Lori McGinley was a high school dropout when she became involved with real
estate agent Stan Herman and gave birth to their son. She called their
involvement a "relationship" with the intent of having a child
together. He considered the involvement "sporadic", and there
was never a planned "love child." Semantics aside, a child was
born and with that birth came the legal obligation of both parents to
provide for his financial support. In California, the amount of child
support is usually determined via a computer program. By inputting data
including the monthly income and expenses of each parent, information
regarding each child, amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren),
etc., the program provides a suggested amount to be paid by the parent
owing the support.
Through her CPA, McGinley claimed she had a disposable income of $400 a
month and expenses of $7,627 per month for her 600-square-foot apartment
by a busy highway, her son's swim lessons, and his babysitting costs.
Herman's CPA claimed Herman had a cash flow of MINUS $42,532 per month
and expenses of $31,457 per month. He failed to mention that Herman was
worth over $11 million dollars, so McGinley's CPA mentioned it. The
CPA also mentioned that, based on Herman's own business records, Herman's
living expenses were $80,390 per month and he had $116,256 in cash available
for support. In fact, Herman had so much money he recently purchased a
new car - a Bentley! Therefore, support should be based on Herman's
"extraordinarily high income", and that the child should share
in that lifestyle.
The trial court refused the information provided by both CPAs, and stated
that a support figure of about $2,000 per month "…came to
mind, because we have a lot of cases like this. And that's usually
been the real limits that I've seen…" The court awarded
McGinley $2,150 in monthly child support and $750 per month in a college
McGinley appealed the court's ruling contending the court abused its
discretion in setting an amount of child support that was inadequate.
By re-affirming a previous decision, the appellate court agreed with her
stating, "…where the supporting parent enjoys a lifestyle
that far exceeds that of the custodial parent, child support must to some
degree reflect the more opulent lifestyle even though this may, as a practical
matter, produce a benefit for the custodial parent…" In other
words, Herman's son was entitled to Herman's lifestyle, even if
it meant McGinley would enjoy Herman's lifestyle too.
**Side note, according to the Los Angeles Times, Stan Herman died in