Tristan Thompson, 30, confirmed on his Instagram story on Jan. 3 that he is, in fact, the father of Maralee Nichols’ one-month old son, who was born on December 2, 2020, at a hospital in California. In a statement, Tristan wrote, “Today, paternity test results reveal that I fathered a child with Maralee Nichols. I take full responsibility for my actions. Now that paternity has been established, I look forward to amicably raising our son.”
And now that it has been established that Tristan — who is also the father of Khloe Kardashian’s daughter, True Thompson, 3, as well as ex Jordan Craig’s son, Prince Thompson, 5 –- is the baby’s daddy, the single NBA basketball star will have to cut another check in child support each month. Morghan Leia Richardson, Esq., the Matrimonial Partner with Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP in New York City, spoke to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about Tristan’s custody case and how much money he will likely have to shell out to Maralee each month.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Is Tristan required to pay Maralee child support now until their son is 18?
Morghan Richardson: Yes, each state sets an age upon with child support will stop. In California, basic child support is owed until the child is 18, or 19 years old if still in high school.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Now that he is determined to be the father, what rights does this give him?
Morghan Richardson: He can seek custody rights and a relationship with the child.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Tristan earns millions of dollars a year. How much is the child entitled to?
Morghan Richardson: In looking at a support award, the court will review both parents’ monthly incomes, and the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. All income, including money/wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, unemployment benefits, interest income, dividend income, rental income, insurance payouts – all of it is fair game for calculating child support. For awards where the parties earn extremely high incomes, such as Tristian, the court will plug the numbers into the support calculator, but also consider several other factors. One argument for a larger award would be to ensure that the child has the same or similar lifestyle in both homes.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Does the fact that he has other children come into play?
Morghan Richardson: Because Tristan is paying support for other children, that will be a factor in calculating how much support he will pay for this child. Reports show that his income is about $10mil so based on that number, and the report that he’s paying $40k per month for his son, when I run the calculator, I get an estimate of $34k per month.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Does his child with her get the same child support as his children with Khloe and Jordan?
Morghan Richardson: Usually when a parent is already paying support for another child, that amount reduces the available income to pay support to later children. There is certainly an argument that he should pay less because he’s already supporting other children, but then again, why should this child be treated differently? It will largely depend on Tristan’s legal team and what they can present to a judge.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Is he required to pay her medical bills and lawyer fees as she was asking?
Morghan Richardson: This is a determination up to the court. In New York, a dad can be ordered to pay for necessary expenses, such as medical bills, as well as lawyer fees. Many times, that is a decision left to the discretion of the judge.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Does his denial and fighting her on this for so long have any impact on the outcome in terms of monetary loss by him?
Morghan Richardson: Usually support will run to the first request made in a court. So, he will likely owe some amount of arrears the longer he fights paying anything. But I think he was more likely fighting about it for so long because of how this impacts his life emotionally, and not financially. The child is reportedly the product of an affair and Tristan has hurt people he loved. It seems likely this fight was more about denial. Now he’s ready to accept his role in the situation, and hopefully be responsible so that everyone can move towards healing.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: What if Tristan refuses to pay?
Morghan Richardson: Courts can issue judgments whether we like it or not. If he doesn’t want to pay, support collection services can be used to collect the money straight from his employer. Violate a child support order and you can find yourself in federal court. Consequences can be severe, including the suspension of driver’s licenses, passports, and liens on bank accounts.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: What happens if Tristan stops playing basketball and has no income?
Morghan Richardson: Sports players have a limited career span, and he has 3 young children to support. I hope that everyone involved in this is setting money aside for the kids. If he is injured or can no longer play, he may at some point seek a support reduction.