As Economy Tanks, So Does Alimony

Wealthy argue that falling assets make old settlements unfair
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 9:39 AM CDT
British comedian John Cleese managed to have his divorce settlement reduced by half after complaining that he was being squeezed by the plunging value of his property portfolio.   (AP Photo/Paul Miller)
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(Newser) – The impact of plunging asset values is making itself felt in divorce courts, reports the Daily Telegraph. Celebrities and corporate high-fliers pleading poverty have managed to wrangle reduced payments to their exes in recent months. Lawyers warn that the trend toward cut-price settlements is now becoming mainstream and urge estranged couples to look hard at their finances before taking legal action.

Lawyers advise would-be alimony recipients to hang on if they can until asset prices rebound—and suggest those with the checkbook get out while the getting's cheap. Marriage counselors, meanwhile, say the prospect of ending up with nothing should be even more incentive for couples to work hard at making their marriages last.