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Brendan Fraser seeks post-divorce modification of alimony

Brendan Fraser, who many Columbia, Missouri, area residents may recognize from his role in “The Mummy” and its sequels, is back in family court on the East Coast. While many issues may be resolved in a divorce settlement, some issues may be subject to modification should a substantial change of circumstances later arise.

Fraser and his ex-wife, Afton Smith, divorced in 2009. In the settlement, Fraser apparently agreed to pay his ex $50,000 each month in spousal support. In February, the actor filed papers in family court seeking a post-divorce modification of the alimony payments that were part of the 2009 divorce. He says that he has not found enough new roles to keep up with the spousal support payments. His ex, however, says that Fraser makes sufficient income and has enough assets to continue making the alimony payments as agreed in the original divorce settlement.

Spousal support is not necessarily an issue in every divorce, an issue we touched upon last week. But substantial changes in income following a divorce may legally justify a post-divorce modification of a support order (like substantial changes may justify modifications of child support, custody or visitation orders, depending upon the circumstances).

Ms. Alton says that several things may weigh against a modification of the support order. She says that Fraser has several projects sets for release this year and next. She argues that Fraser’s net worth also makes a modification of the spousal support settlement unfair. Lastly, the couple agreed to a modify spousal support in their divorce settlement should Fraser’s income fall below $3 million—a figure that she claims has not been breached.

Fraser says that not only has his income dropped, but he suffered an injury in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that left him with large medical bills.

It is not clear when the family court will hear the issues, or deliver a ruling.

Source: Daily Mail, “Stand Off: Brendan Fraser's ex-wife accuses the star of hiding his earnings in attempt to reduce $50,000 monthly alimony payments,” Aug. 19, 2013

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