Exclusive: Santa Barbara, Calif. — Kevin Costner’s presence in a Santa Barbara courtroom Thursday during a hearing for his ongoing divorce bid from Christine Baumgartner showed “how important” this case is to him, a legal expert told Fox News Digital.
Costner is expected He will take the witness stand on Friday, and will likely be questioned about his finances and how much money he took home from the hit show “Yellowstone,” according to a hearing brief previously provided by Baumgartner’s legal team.
The “The Bodyguard” star had previously appeared before court procedures via the Zoom application, and the court agreed to appear again virtually for hearings on Thursday and Friday, but he chose to attend in person instead.
Noted divorce attorney Christopher Melcher, who is not involved in the case, noted that Costner’s appearance in person shows “how important” the court case is to the actor.
Watch: Kevin Costner leaves the Santa Barbara courthouse
“It’s a sign of respect for the court,” Melcher told Fox News Digital. “He’s actively engaged, listening and passing notes along to his attorney.” “And it must be really embarrassing for both spouses to have to face each other in the courtroom and see their lives exposed, the needs of their children being talked about, and all the attorney’s fees being spent. It seems really uncomfortable for Kevin now.”
“It’s a sign of respect for the court, he’s actively engaged, listening and passing notes on to his lawyer.”
Baumgartner formally asked a judge to set a new monthly child support payment of $161,592 on Thursday amid ongoing divorce proceedings, which at times brought her to tears. Before Baumgartner and Costner appeared in person in court, Costner’s legal team gave a new briefing accusing Baumgartner of “relentlessly jihad” against the actor’s character in order to create “antagonism” ahead of a “totally unnecessary” hearing.
Melcher noted that the case before the court had become “nasty” and that there were ways to say things “in a more respectful way”.
WATCH: Kevin Costner’s appearance in court shows ‘a sign of respect’, says celebrity divorce attorney
“This case has gone bad, and in a lawsuit today, Kevin’s attorney said Kristen was waging a relentless jihad against Kevin, which is a derogatory term. I can’t believe it was written, and I get the point of it. What you’re trying to do, but it was It could be done in a more respectful way.”
In his opening remarks Thursday, Baumgartner’s attorney, John Riddell, noted that she claims $161,592 a month in child support and that Costner is a major movie star who can afford it. Riddle estimated that even if Costner started paying the increased amount, the “Yellowstone” star would still be making roughly $731,000 a month after taxes. Her legal team insisted that California law must be respected.
During cross-examination, Costner’s attorney, Jacqueline Micheaux, asked Baumgartner if she planned to get a job. She has previously testified that she will need to finish school to become employable and would like to work with children. “I think I’ll need to go to university—to get my degree,” Baumgartner told Michaux.
“I have no idea what’s coming next year,” she said of her intentions to get a job.
Baumgartner also noted that she believes she and her children will “benefit” from this Increase child support. However, it is not clear what specific expenses Baumgartner intends to incur with the additional $31,837 it is now asking for.
“It will depend on what happens in this case,” she said when asked by Costner’s lawyer about her future financial decisions.
Michaud repeated claims made in court also in documents provided to the actor’s legal team on Thursday that Baumgartner was operating with “inflated” numbers when calculating the “reasonable needs” of the children.
The lawyer pointed this out Baumgartner’s house is the current tenant, which she moved into around August 1 after the court ordered her move out of the ex-husband’s home in Carpinteria, was more than enough space for Baumgartner and Köstner’s three children to live. Costner’s legal team said the designer of the portfolio used all five of the properties in the Beach Club complex’s residence for the calculations – even though the family only lived in one.
“Christine’s lack of intellectual integrity when it came to determining ‘reasonable needs’ is staggering,” court documents read, as is her staggering request for support of $168,315 per month as “reasonable needs for children.”
Divorce procedures do not end after Friday. Costner and Baumgartner are expected to return to court in November to discuss the former spouses’ prenuptial agreement.
“It must be horrible for this family, for these kids, in a small community where not only is their parents divorced, but all of this stuff is made public,” he told Fox News Digital. “This is not the end of it. There will be a hearing for several days in November on the validity of the prenuptial agreement, so this is not going to stop. It is not going to end anytime soon.”
Christine filed for divorce From the star of “Fields of Dreams” last May, after 18 years of marriage, due to “irreconcilable differences.”
Baumgartner, 49, received the award $129,755 in monthly support Their three children during a hearing in July after initially asking for $248,000 a month. Costner, 68, offered $51,000.
In her application for updated child support, her attorneys said Costner was “a man of extraordinary wealth.”
“Unlike many family law litigants, Kevin can pay child direction support, as well as make an additional contribution to Christine’s fees, without it making any meaningful difference to his life,” the documents say.
Costner’s legal team responded days later and accused Baumgartner of “manipulation”. They also asked the court that Baumgartner pay $14,237.50 in his attorney’s fees for having to file a motion to force her to make her new request.