Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Howard's first wife leaves no spousal support for his second wife

Because the circumstances of every divorce are different, it would be wise for both spouses to obtain legal counsel before signing any agreements. Emotions may lead an individual to agree to spousal support when it may not be in his or her best interest. Obtaining the advice of a professional may avert decisions that may bring regret.

Massachusetts residents who are interested in the lives of film stars may be surprised to learn about a spousal support agreement Terence Howard signed when he divorced his first wife. The agreement that might have seemed sensible at the time is now preventing him from being able to meet the stipulations of a settlement agreement signed when he divorced Michelle Ghent, his second wife. He claims to have been coerced into signing an agreement to pay her $325,000 in spousal support while he lives on less than $6,000 per month.

Howard claims that his total monthly income is paid directly to Lori McMasters, his first wife and the mother of his two children. Once all her expenses and those of the children are paid, she pays him $5,878 per month. In September last year, Howard agreed to settle Ghent’s legal costs of $14,800, but asserts that he did not admit liability. He is now asking the judge to dismiss the settlement agreement with Ghent.

Massachusetts couples that are considering divorce may want to obtain the services of a mediator to assist in spousal support decisions that will protect the interests of both spouses. Regardless of who is to blame for the situation, no spouse should be expected to walk away with almost nothing. Individuals who find themselves unable to meet the stipulations of an agreement -- or those needing more financial support -- may find comfort in knowing that they have the right to petition the court for modification.

Source: New York Daily News, "Terrence Howard says he can't afford spousal support for ex-wife, only makes $6,000 a month: report", Zayda Rivera, July 28, 2014

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