Judge OKs Support for Bristol Palin's Son

In this Sept. 3, 2008 file photo, Levi Johnston, left, is seen with his girlfriend Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. AP

A judge on Thursday approved child support for Bristol Palin and set a trial date to force the issue along, while urging her and the father of her son to work out a resolution outside of the courtroom.

Judge Kari C. Kristiansen encouraged Palin and Levi Johnston, both 19, to work with a judge who specializes in such matters in a settlement conference and not go to trial. She set a court date for Sept. 23-24.

Kristiansen approved child support for Palin retroactive to the day the child was born. That amount still needs to be determined.

Bristol Palin is seeking nearly $1,700 a month in child support to care for their son, Tripp. She had asked for retroactive payments to the boy's birth, or $19,232 total. That does not include $4,400 Johnston has already paid in child support.

Palin, a daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, attended the 20-minute child support hearing in Palmer Superior Court, but her former fiance did not appear or participate by phone.

Kristiansen told Rex Butler, Johnston's lawyer, that it would have been better if his client had participated.

Her pregnancy was announced just days after her mother, then governor of Alaska, was tapped by GOP presidential candidate John McCain to be his running mate. Palin and Johnston, a current Playgirl cover model, broke up shortly after Tripp's birth in December 2008.

Palin's lawyer has complained that Johnston hasn't been forthcoming with his income. Attorney Thomas Van Flein previously asked that subpoenas be issued to obtain information on payments made to Johnston by Playgirl and media companies such as CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Vanity Fair, the National Enquirer, Star magazine and Insider.

Johnston has said he wasn't paid for many of the media interviews.

A judge hasn't ruled on the request.

The court is determining the amount of child support based on Johnston's adjusted gross income, which is estimated between $100,000 and $105,000. Johnston has said his income from the entertainment field can be erratic.

The judge on Thursday encouraged Butler to get his client's financial information to the court, saying it was past due. She granted issuing subpoenas to get that information.

Van Flein said he had "every confidence" that the child support issue would be resolved in the next two weeks.
By Associated Press Writer Mary Pemberton
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