Lawyer: Levi's fame doesn't mean he can pay child support

Levi Johnston, Playgirl centerfold and father to former Gov. Sarah Palin's grandson, may have earned more than $100,000 in 2009 because of his ascension to the national limelight, but there's no guarantee his fame and riches will continue, according to documents filed in court.

The documents, filed by his attorney, Rex Butler, urge a judge to set child support Johnston must pay to Bristol Palin at a percentage of his income, not a fixed amount, because Johnston's income last year was "anomalous" and his "visibility as a media figure is too speculative to assess at this juncture," Butler wrote.

"Levi Johnston's income spiked dramatically in 2009 as a result of media exposure generated by the presidential campaign of 2008," Butler wrote. "Prior to 2009, Johnston never made over approximately $10,000 annually."

After Sen. John McCain selected Sarah Palin to run as his vice president, Palin's family, along with Johnston, was thrust onto the national stage. Johnston has since appeared on the national talk show circuit, appeared in ads for Wonderful Pistachios and appeared in Playgirl magazine.

Bristol Palin, who filed a petition for sole custody of the baby in early November, is seeking $1,750 a month from the 19-year-old Johnston, her former fiance, to cover expenses for their 1-year-old son. Tripp was born in December 2008.

In the filing, Butler argues that would be excessive, given the uncertain future of Johnston's finances. He says, however, Johnston is willing to pay 20 percent of his 2009 income.

Alaska law mandates that at a minimum for one child the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay child support in the amount of 20 percent of that person's adjusted annual income.

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