Jon Cryer, star of CBS’s long-running sitcom, Two and a Half Men, and one of the highest paid actors on TV, is being asked by ex-wife Sarah Trigger to increase his child support payments from $8,000 per month to support their minor son to $88,000 per month.
The main reason for the child support modification request? Trigger says the couple’s income disparity is making it impossible for her to maintain the luxurious standard her son had become accustomed to when Cryer and Trigger were married, and afterwards, when Cryer had majority custody of their son. When Trigger was awarded $8,000 monthly in child support by the California courts, she had custody only 4 percent of the time. In a new agreement, her child custody time has been increased to 50 percent. Cryer reportedly makes a staggering $2 million per month, while Trigger has been struggling to find work as an actress.
In her filing to have child support increased, Trigger describes that her son attends the prestigious Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California, where students drive luxury cars to school, go on expensive family vacations, and have over-the-top birthday parties “at expensive places like Sky High Sports and invite the whole class.” Because Trigger is not able to provide these things for her son, she feels he is at a disadvantage.
“The reality is that when the child is with his father, he’s able to compete on a level playing field with his peers, and when he’s with his mother, he’s not,” her attorney explained in a NY Daily News report.
Does she have a case? The answer may be yes. “The child needs to be able to compete with his peers 100 percent of the time, and that means mom being able to afford to buy the things his peers receive,” her attorney commented, “I don’t think it’s really healthy for there to be such a disparity. This is really about the child’s best interest.”
What if Cryer and Trigger lived in New Jersey? The state’s rules for handling high net worth cases could mean that a parent with Cryer’s income would need to increase support payments in order to meet the “reasonable needs of the child.” According to an Appellate Division decision of the New Jersey Superior Court ruling in Strahan v. Strahan, “the dominant guideline for consideration is the reasonable needs of the children, which must be addressed in the context of the standard of living of the parties. The needs of the children must be the centerpiece of any relevant analysis.” In other words, issues such as one parent not being able to provide the child’s expected standard of living may be taken into consideration.
Trigger’s new petition has a court date early next year, but private child support mediation talks to resolve the matter appear to be ongoing.