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Comedian John Cleese opens up about spousal support woes

New Jersey residents who are paying spousal support may feel relief after reading the story of comedic actor John Cleese's alimony nightmare. While his legions of fans and his talent has enabled him to have a successful career, it is clear that multiple marriages have taken a financial toll.

In a recent interview, the comedian attempted to set the record straight about any perception of his wealth after his success with the "Monty Python" comedy troupe. In 2008, Cleese divorced his third wife, a psychotherapist to whom he has been married for 16 years. In their divorce settlement, finalized in 2009, Cleese agreed to pay $13 million in cash and other valuable assets. In addition, Cleese would pay alimony of $1 million each year until 2016. In all, Cleese estimates that he will have paid $23 or $24 million in spousal support as a result of the divorce.

To afford the alimony payments, the 74-year-old Cleese says that he was forced to sell four of his five properties in order to pay the total amount over the seven year period. Additionally, Cleese embarked on a touring one-man show a few years ago entitled "The Alimony Tour." Given the reality of his financial commitments, the name of the show was more than just a funny joke. Cleese has since married for a fourth time.

A high asset divorce such as Cleese's carries with it serious and complicated issues of property division and other divorce legal issues. Beyond the emotions that come with every divorce, ownership of assets that are difficult to value can make the end of a marriage difficult. Navigating such a complex divorce may be less difficult with the assistance of a family law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "John Cleese's Alimony Payments Are No Laughing Matter", January 31, 2014

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