Curtis James Jackson III, better known as the multi-platinum rapper 50 Cent, will now have a little more pocket change after a Long Island court judge slashed his child support payments by 73 % this week.
The rapper, who banked an estimated $33 million last year and owns G-Unit Records (UMG), had previously been paying his ex-girlfriend Shaniqua Tomkins child support off the books. But as Tomkins’ allegedly “insatiable” demands for cash continued to escalate he took legal action.
When Tomkins requested $50,000 a month to support their 10-year old son, Marquis Diamond Jackson. Instead, she was granted an interim award of $25,000 a month last April while the court determined the appropriate amount. This week that figure was reduced again, to $6,700 a month. That’s $80,400- albeit tax-free –that Tomkins will receive annually to support their child. And while that might seem paltry in relation to the rapper’s income, technically it should be even less. The child support statute is supposed to grant “17% of the first $80,000 of combined earned income,” says Jeffrey Cohen, a partner at Cohen, Goldstein, Silpe LLC in New York.
According to the statue, in 50 Cent’s case, if he were the sole earner he would be obligated to pony up $13,600 a year, plus insurance benefits and childcare. “But courts don’t think very much about the threshold,” says Cohen. “They try to pick a cap, sometimes it’s $100,000 or $200,000, sometimes it’s just based on the standard of living. But they won’t apply it up to $33 million.”
Disparities between each parent’s lifestyle, however, can significantly influence a court’s decision. “Say I have a big crib and she’s living in a 5th floor walk up,” says Cohen, “The court might go beyond the actual needs because of the disparity in lifestyle.”
After a court makes a permanent award, there must be “grave extenuating circumstances before they’d take a look at an agreement to change an award of child support,” says Elliot D. Samuelson, a senior partner at Samuelson, Hause, Samuelson, a firm in New York that specializes in family law. “And it has to be a substantive change, not just any change. Like if you were fired from a job making $200,000 a year, and in your new job made $100,000 a year.”