Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Spousal support not limited to celebrity divorces

When it comes to financial settlements at the end of a marriage, income plays an important part, which is why spouses often ask for alimony in their divorces. However, each and every divorce case is different and can be complicated.

High-profile celebrity divorces -- like the one between the two Hollywood stars, Ashton Kutcher of the TV series "Two and a Half Men" and Demi Moore from the movie "G.I. Jane -- often capture the public's attention. Even in this case, spousal support became an issue, despite the wealth of both parties.

Moore was one of the top earners in Hollywood in the 1990s, but her finances were eclipsed by Kutcher after they wed in 2005. Kutcher had an estimated $24 million in earnings from his sitcom from 2011 to 2012, according to Forbes magazine. The amount made him the highest-paid TV actor. Perhaps because of this, when Kutcher filed for divorce in 2011 citing irreconcilable differences, he did not refuse support to his 50-year-old ex-wife and did not seek any from her.

Moore, 16 years older than Kutcher, started dating the young star after she divorced her former husband Bruce Willis. Kutcher was then on the TV sitcom "That '70s Show."

Non-celebrity divorces often have their own complications because of marital assets and properties, spousal support and alimony payments. All of these issues can be affected by factors like Massachusetts's Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which set specific standards for alimony and considers the length of a marriage when determining the amount and duration of support.

Alimony can help reduce the economic impact of divorce for the spouse who has no or little income. Spousal support can provide a financial cushion that can allow a newly divorced spouse time to train for work or make or find other sources of income.

Source: Reuters, "Actress Demi Moore asks for alimony from Ashton Kutcher," Eric Kelsey, Mar. 7, 2013

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