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Much media attention has been paid lately to the poor behavior of famous “family men” across the country, including former California governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. When word got out that he has a secret child with his family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena, people were desperate to learn more about her, the child, and whether his wife, Maria Shriver, would be filing for divorce.

Yet few wondered about potential child support from Schwarzenegger, though the amount Baena could receive may be equally sensational news that greatly affects her and the child’s standard of living.

California child-support laws state that children are to share in the lifestyle of their parents and that child-support awards should be made considering the relative incomes of the parents, among other factors. When one parent has significantly more assets than the other parent, the other parent often enjoys a better lifestyle as a result of child-support payments, even though they are intended as payments for the care and upbringing of the child.

In California, a state with large concentrations of wealth, child-support awards of thousands of dollars a month are not unusual. And California courts have repeatedly upheld child-support orders against extraordinarily wealthy fathers like Schwarzenegger who have children with women of far less means.

When comparing Baena and Schwarzenegger’s child’s life with the life of Schwarzenegger’s child with Shriver, the likely contrasts are stark. Maria Shriver’s son is growing up on an expansive estate and attending private school. Mildred Baena’s son lives in a middle-class neighborhood, and his mother’s car was repossessed in 2004.

However, the difference in lifestyles may be narrowed if Schwarzenegger is ordered to pay significant sums of child support to Baena. It may never be known if or how much child support is awarded, though, because California law makes all child-support cases involving children born out of wedlock confidential, and the files are not available to the public. Therefore, if Schwarzenegger is indeed ordered to pay child support to Baena, people will be left to speculate once again.

Source: Brother of a Different Mother