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Estevez v. Superior Court

27 Cal. Rptr. 2d 470 (1994)

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Estevez v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal

27 Cal. Rptr. 2d 470 (1994)

Facts

Emilio Estevez (defendant) and Carey L. Salley (plaintiff) had two children together. Estevez and Salley entered into a court agreement under which Estevez would pay Salley $3,500 per month in child support and pay for the children’s medical expenses. In addition to complying with the agreement, Estevez paid for the children’s childcare, private education, various vacations, and a housekeeper. Additionally, Estevez’s parents paid for a house in Malibu for Salley and the children. In 1993, Salley petitioned the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (defendant) for a child-support modification. Salley acknowledged that she and the children were receiving over $14,000 per month in support from Estevez. However, Salley sought a modification because the additional support was voluntary and could be freely discontinued. Pursuant to the petition, Salley requested the production of almost 20 different documents to show Estevez’s income for the purpose of applying the child-support guidelines. Estevez stipulated that he earned approximately $1.4 million per year, which would require him to pay $14,500 per month in child support if the guidelines were applied. Estevez claimed that under White v. Marciano, discovery of his income was precluded because it was irrelevant as he was willing to comply with any child-support amount that the court determined was reasonable. Salley argued that after White v. Marciano, the California legislature passed statutory provisions abrogating the holding. Salley alleged that the court was required to calculate child support using the obligator’s income and then could decide to deviate from the calculation if the obligator was an extraordinary high-income earner. The court ruled that Salley’s interpretation was correct and, after reducing the number of documents Salley had originally requested, granted the motion to produce the documents. Estevez appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kitching, J.)

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