Judge Orders Levi Johnston to pay Bristol Palin Back Child Support

In a 20-minute hearing Thursday, a judge ordered Levi Johnston to pay child support and retroactive back payments for the care of Tripp, the son he had with Bristol Palin, daughter of former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

On Nov. 3, 2009, Bristol Palin filed a legal petition seeking sole custody of Tripp and child support from Johnston in accordance with Alaska law. She asked for primary custody with visitation rights for Johnston, as well as $1,700 of child support a month.

Rex Butler, attorney for Johnston, told ABC News that his client is eager to make the back payments and will hand over a check within the week.

"The judge decided that Bristol should have child support, which we don't disagree with," Butler told the ABC News Law and Justice Unit. "Fortunately, Levi has put this money aside a long time ago. The back support is going to come out to about $10,000 to $13,000, and he's going to write Bristol a check."

Butler confirmed that Johnston's saved funds came in part from modeling, particularly a much-publicized spread in Playgirl, but said the most important matter going forward was "whether to seek full custody, split custody or whether Levi will be satisfied with reasonable visitation."

"I think split custody is the best of these," Butler said.

Bristol Palin Pleased

A September 23-24 court date was set for a child support trial, and both Palin and Johnston, who was not present in court Thursday, were encouraged to settle and avoid trial.

Thomans Van Flein, attorney for Bristol Palin, told ABC News he and Bristol were pleased with Thursday's outcome.

"Bristol is pleased with the rulings from the court today. While pleased that the judge applied settled Alaska Child Support and Discovery Law in her favor, she is most pleased to have this process moving forward. She anticipates now resolving the few issues remaining between her and Levi."

Palin and Johnston, both 19, were shoved into the spotlight last year when they revealed the pregnancy during the 2008 presidential race. Since calling off their engagement after the birth of their son in December 2008, the relationship between the two has deteriorated, and they have received much public scrutiny.

While Johnston has spent his time modeling, the young Palin recently announced that she would star in ABC Family's the Secret Life of the American Teenager, set to air this summer. She will play herself in the drama that focuses on the consequences of teenage pregnancy. Since her high school pregnancy, Palin has become a vocal advocate for encouraging abstinence rather than safe sex.

When asked about Palin's upcoming role in the hit show, Butler told ABC News, "We are glad to see that she got some work. This will mean she has some income and will be more independent of her mother, and that's a good thing. And this could change some things between her and Levi."

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