Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Jennifer Lopez wants to stop paying spousal support

Music icon and fashion designer Jennifer Lopez recently made it known that she is no longer Jennifer Muniz and she no longer wants to pay support to her estranged husband, Latin singer Marc Anthony.

More than two years after the 44-year-old Lopez and the 45-year-old Anthony announced their separation, Anthony, whose real last name is Muniz, pressed Lopez last year to make their split final. Lopez only recently responded and made three requests in their divorce petition: the name change, joint and legal custody of their 5-year-old twins and cessation of any alimony payments to Anthony.

Married couples who work or have careers, including those in Massachusetts, contribute to common marital property during their time together. In this case, both Lopez and Anthony have careers that can stand alone and provide income for themselves and their families well into the foreseeable future. Divorce for spouses who do not have substantial assets or property, however, can profoundly affect their personal finances and thus their lives. This is especially true when one spouse has been out of the workforce and looking after children.

Determining a fair amount for spousal support can be complicated because several factors must be considered, including the respective lifestyles of the spouses, their needs and their incomes. In addition, changes in financial position through things such as job loss can affect one divorced spouse's ability to pay.

Unlike child support, alimony may or may not be a required part of a divorce settlement in Massachusetts, which means support obligations can be settled by negotiation or litigation. The couple may choose to negotiate first, but if the results are not satisfactory they can then opt for court intervention.

Source: Fox News, "Jennifer Lopez Wants Her Old Name Back," Dec. 7, 2013

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