Tristan is locked in a legal battle with a former fling who claims that he is the father of her newborn baby boy. Two lawyers shed light on their situation.
As Tristan Thompson, 31, awaits the results of a paternity test to determine if he is the father to 31-year-old personal trainer Maralee Nichols‘ newborn baby son, the Sacramento Kings NBA star and father to daughter True Thompson, 3, with ex Khloe Kardashian, 37, has been battling it out in courts over child support payments for a baby that has not yet been proven to be his. Since July, Tristan and Maralee — who he admitted to sleeping with while celebrating his birthday in Houston, Texas, on March 13 — have been engaged in a nasty back-and-forth courtroom showdown over whether Tristan would pay child support in California, where Maralee currently lives with Tristan’s alleged son that she gave birth to on December 2, or in Texas, where she lived when she became pregnant with the child.
On June 30, 2021, Maralee filed a petition to determine parental relationship in a Los Angeles, California, court. In July, Tristan filed a paternity lawsuit against Maralee in Houston, Texas. In documents obtained by HollywoodLife, Tristan said that he is alleged to be the father of an unborn child and that Maralee is living in California, but that she owns property in Texas. Tristan asked that the case be heard in Texas and not in California. But why? Matrimonial attorney Morghan Leia Richardson with the law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, LLP in New York City told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that it all comes down to money! “California tends to have the highest ‘rate’ of child support across the country. It has the broadest definition of ‘income’ for determining support. There may be some precedent for lower awards in Texas. Aren’t we talking about a state that has more conservative views on women as a whole? That whole ‘you are a holy vessel for a fetus, but don’t ask for help once you have a baby’ dynamic tends to lead to more conservative judges and potentially trickles down the line to the application of law,” attorney Richardson, who has not personally worked on this case, said.
As reported by HollywoodLife, documents filed in August by Maralee allege that Tristan offered her a one time payment of $75,000, which she declined. The documents include a supposed text message sent to Maralee from Tristan, which read, “You know how I feel. My feelings haven’t changed at all. Wont be involved at all. Btw if you think having this baby is gonna make you some money. It’s completely wrong. You are aware that I’m retiring after this season. So in terms of support it will be whatever is required monthly for someone who’s unemployed. It’s Texas, so it will be only a couple hundred dollars. So you better off taking this 75k I’m offering cause you won’t get nothing near that with having a kid with a father who’s unemployed.” Interesting to note is that Tristan allegedly said that he was “retiring after this season.”
However, a second attorney — California-based family attorney David J. Glass with Enenstein, Pham & Glass LLP — told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that it wouldn’t matter if Tristan retired from the NBA, as the child support for Maralee would be determined, ultimately, by his accumulated wealth. “Child support tends to run at about 10 percent of the difference in the gross monthly income of the parties. That is what is called ‘Guideline Support’ in California. But, for an ‘extraordinary earner’ – in LA, someone who makes more than about $1.5 million per year – the Court will go ‘off-Guidelines’ because the Guidelines formula results in too high of a number. Then it is up to the party seeking support to prove what the child’s ‘reasonable needs’ are – what kinds of expenses are required to keep the child in style of life enjoyed by the support payor. If the support payor flies in private jets, then so does the child,” attorney Glass said.
According to the documents, Tristan said that he would pay child support if it was determined via a paternity test that the child was his. As reported, Maralee gave birth nearly one week ago, on December 2. Attorney Richardson said that, after the paternity test is administered, it is in the hands of the courts, adding, “A DNA test is usually ordered by the court. These tests must be handled in a certain way so that there is no fraud, and most courts are very strict about them. Once the test results are in, usually there will be a court appearance where the results are announced, or otherwise the lawyers are alerted. The courts won’t order support without the dad being listed on the birth certificate or signing an acknowledgement of paternity.”
Although the text message allegedly written by Tristan stated he “won’t be involved at all,” attorney Richardson said that he could be a part of the child’s life if he chooses to do so! “It will ultimately be up to Tristan whether or not he is active in the baby’s upbringing. These days, there is a move towards equal parenting of children. He should be able to see his kids on an equal basis. That seems unlikely given his comments and his schedule, but really the only thing that is stopping him from being an active parent is himself,” the Big Apple lawyer added. Aside from daughter True, who Tristan shares with Khloe, he also is the father to 4-year-old son Prince with ex Jordan Craig, 30.