Some time ago, the Answer Bitch answered the big question that might be on your mind right now, given today's news...
If Jon and Kate get a divorce, how would child support work for eight kids?
—Holly, Salt Lake City
If you're asking whether a parent can get a discount of eight for the price of six, the answer is, technically, yeah.
First things first, though. For the record, Jon Gosselin has denied he had an affair—despite rather explicit evidence related in Us Weekly—and wife Kate appeared on the Today show to declare that she's "very hesitant to believe" that her man has cheated.
"We're doing our best and learning how to go," she said.
If the two "stars" of Jon & Kate Plus 8 decide that the best way to go is a divorce, then child support for eight kids growing up on basic cable gets really interesting.
For the sake of explanation, let's just suppose that Kate gets custody of all the kids. In most states, the law puts a cap on the percentage of Jon's wages—around 40 to 50 percent—that he must pay in child support. The percentage for the first kid is usually 20 percent, and then it goes down from there with each subsequent spawn.
"It's a sliding scale, the more children you have," family law attorney Jennifer C. Smetters explains.
In the case of Jon and Kate, the percentage would probably cap off before we got down to kid number six.
"There's only so much support that someone can give," divorce attorney Joshua Forman tells me. "The law has to give him the incentive to work. Otherwise he might think, 'You're taking 90 percent of my salary? Forget this.' "
However, things might change if Jon, say, got a seven-figure deal to pen a tell-all book. In that case, his income would be so high that a good family lawyer would argue that—at least temporarily—he pay a lower percentage of his income in support.
And I have no doubt that, if this drama continues, there will be a tell-all book. Or maybe 10 tell-all books, one for each Gosselin.
(Originally published May 10, 2009, at 8:01 a.m. PT)
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