Linda Evangelista’s Right to Child Support Prior to Petitioning

May 3, 2012
Louis Sternberg

The child support trial between supermodel Linda Evangelista and Francois-Henri Pinault began today in Manhattan Family Court.  The two have a five-year-old child together named Augustin.  According to the New York Post,  Evangelista’s attorney claimed that for the first four years of Augustin’s life, Pinault had not provided “one penny, franc or euro in financial contribution” to Evangelista as child support.

Under New York’s Family Court Act § 440, unless the child is receiving public assistance, an award of child support is effective as of “the date of the filing of the petition thereof.”  This means that the child support obligation is retroactive to the date the support petition was filed with the court.  The non-custodial parent therefore is not legally responsible to pay any child support prior to that date.  Evangelista’s attorney’s criticisms of Pinault’s failure to pay any child support may cast Pinault in an unfavorable light but legally, there was no obligation to provide any child support whatsoever.