Jesse Williams has asked the courts to reduce his child support payments for his 8-year-old daughter, Sadie, and 6-year-old son, Maceo, whom he shares with Aryn Drake-Lee, the actor’s ex-wife .
He claims he can no longer afford the hefty monthly payment a judge ordered him to support the children after his 2019 divorce. However, Drake-Lee doesn’t believe him and is fighting back.
Radar Online reports that the mother’s attorney has filed paperwork saying she wants him to continue paying the court-ordered amount he has for three years. Williams has reportedly paid $40,000 a month for child support since October 2019.
In December 2021, the former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star filed a sealed motion pleading for child support to be reduced. He argues that the current amount is based on his former employment and not his current reality.
In 2019, he raked in $6.2 million and $183,000 in residuals for playing Dr. Jackson Avery on the hit ABC show. However, since leaving the show, his earnings have dropped significantly. Currently, he stars in a play called “Take Me Out” and earns just $1,668 a week, he claims.
His claim to court says: “I ask the court to reduce child support to a reasonable amount that I can afford given the significant reduction in my income and the now fluctuating nature of my income.”
“Child support should also reflect the real lifestyle of our two young children and not some exorbitant/imaginary version,” he continued.
He explained that he left the show because he thought it was going to end and he wanted to grow as an artist.
On the other hand, the filing indicated that Drake-Lee did not work at all despite holding a New York real estate license. He thinks she should go back to her job to help support the children.
His motion stated that Williams’ deliberate departure from the show is his doing and is an excuse for him not to step in.
“[Jesse] left a favorable, coveted and well-paid position on a hit TV show, to pursue his “own path”, and is now looking to get rid of his family responsibilities, ”it reads.
“In his request”, writes his lawyer. “[Jesse] mentionned [Aryn’s] education and previous income as a real estate agent. However, he fails to mention that [Aryn] gave up his burgeoning career in New York for him over 13 years ago, to move to California to support and focus on building his acting career and businesses.
“His ‘income’ during the marriage as an unofficial manager is comparable to his current income,” the filing states.
2022 has been busy for this couple.
“Entertainment Tonight” notes that their familiar child custody disputes have landed them in court.
Williams wanted a Los Angeles judge to change his custody schedule to see his children now that he has a Broadway show in New York. The judge sided with Williams, ruling that he will be allowed to spend four consecutive days each month with his children in New York. Two of those days, the decision says, will be weekends.
The judge further determined that the co-parents will continue their joint custody arrangement and in cases like the COVID-19 protocol, he will have “tie-breaking power.”
Drake-Lee had tried to get the judge to reduce the actor’s time in custody, but the request was denied, according to the docs.
But there are some reasonable concessions the judge made.
The judge suggested the two bring in a “third-party coordinator or counselor” to help them with some of the details of their custody and school-aged visitation.
Guidelines were instituted stating that when Williams “cancels parenting time, he can no longer ‘cancel’.” The only consideration to this rule is if both agree in writing.
Williams and Drake-Lee will have to “meet and confer” on the kids’ extracurricular activities and if they can’t agree, “tie-breaking authority” rests with Drake-Lee, who will make the final decision. .
“The mother should understand that the father cannot share certain schedules with her as far in advance as she would like,” says the leader. “And that he doesn’t always want his time with the kids to be filled with extracurricular activities, and the father should understand that the mother adjusts her own schedule to meet her needs, and the children deserve to have extracurricular activities. that they engage on a regular basis, not just when mom is in charge.
The judge advised the two with these words: “The Court reiterates that the co-parenting order is perhaps the most important aspect of the orders made at this time.”
“The parties are both seeking to fine-tune their custody and visitation orders, which a court is not as well equipped to handle as the parents themselves through a third-party coordinator or advisor” , he advised. “Of course, if the parties cannot agree, they can come back to court.”
This is not the first time that a judge has spoken to them about their need to agree for the sake of the children.
Last year, the two were ordered to attend Between Two Parents, an education class for “high conflict parents”. A judge sends a couple there after they’ve appeared in court too often or had too many disagreements over custody.
The online course is six sessions long and gives divorced parents conflict resolution tactics and tools to ease the anxiety that separation brings to their children.