How much does it cost to raise a Kardashian-West child? $200,000 a month, according to a settlement reached on Tuesday in Los Angeles superior court. Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, ended a months-long legal drama and agreed to pay that amount in child support to his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. But where did the figure come from?
Typically, parents are awarded child support based on formulas or calculators set up by state governments. These formulas take both parents’ finances into account. In California, the average amount is about $430 a child each month.
The goal is to ensure that children affected by divorce are able to carry on with the life that they are used to, says Jacqueline Newman, a managing partner of the New York divorce law firm Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP. “Conceptually speaking, in settlements, you don’t want one rich parent and one poor parent,” she explained. “A settlement should equalize things.”
Given the family’s wealth, that’s hardly a concern. “High-income cases end up being a lifestyle analysis,” Newman said. Parents submit documentation of their kids’ costly experiences – private planes, bodyguards – and those sums end up informing the final child support amount.
Kardashian’s lawyer Laura Wasser and Ye’s attorney Nicholas A Salick did not respond to requests for comment, but court documents filed in Los Angeles found that their four children, all under the age of 10, require the amount to cover their private security, private school and eventual college costs.
“Certainly Kanye West’s kids are going to be different from my kids and your kids in terms of their experience and what they do on a daily basis,” said Val Kleyman, a founding member of New York’s Kleyman Law Firm. “Divorce can’t be the reason these kids don’t travel or live in a certain way than what they’re used to.”
And these children – North, nine, Saint, six, Chicago, four, and Psalm, three – certainly do live in their own uniquely privileged way. All attend Sierra Canyon school, a private day school in Los Angeles where tuition runs $20,000 a year for pre-kindergarten students and $40,770 for high schoolers. North has attended fashion weeks with her mother since she was an infant, frequently flying in private jets from New York to Paris and Milan.
All of these extracurriculars, no matter how lavish, are included in the settlement, to ensure that the kids’ day-to-day lives are not interrupted by any separation. “These kids are traveling on private planes and staying in expensive hotels because of who they are, because of the need for security from the paparazzi,” Kleyman said. “These extracurriculars are what a judge looks at to determine how much it takes to keep that lifestyle going.”
Ye joins a list of celebrity dads who face large child support payments after expensive splits. In 2010, the late businessman and Las Vegas resort tycoon Kirk Kerkorian was ordered to pay $10m plus $100,000 a month – even after his ex-wife admitted that the child was not his biological daughter. More recently Nick Cannon, a father of 11, said that he paid “a lot more” than $3m a year in child support.
There is also the issue of Ye’s rapidly deteriorating wealth. Gap, Balenciaga and Adidas all dumped the rapper, who went on antisemitic tirades and is associating with white supremacists, causing him to reportedly lose $2bn in a day. Legal experts who spoke to the Guardian say that Ye could ask for a modification in the future if he proves that his finances have changed significantly enough.
Even if that happens, it’s unlikely to affect the day-to-day existence of the Kardashian-West kids. As Kleyman put it: “Whether or not Kim needs $200,000 from Kanye when she has her own money is a different question.”