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Spousal support at issue in divorce of "7th Heaven" actor


Illinois fans of the popular television show "7th Heaven" may have heard about the current divorce case of actor Stephen Collins, who played the father. Recently an audio recording of the actor, in which he allegedly admitted molesting underage girls in the past, appeared on a popular entertainment website. Collins' wife admits she turned the tape over to police but denies releasing it to the website.


In the divorce case, Collins' wife is seeking spousal maintenance of over $13,000 per month. Her attorney claims Collins will have sufficient assets to pay that amount once the divorce is finalized. Collins' attorney, on the other hand, has stated that his client has lost job opportunities and income after many television stations stopped airing re-runs of the popular show.

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is sometimes awarded if one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse. The rationale is that one spouse may have foregone career opportunities in order to care for the children or to advance the other spouse's career. Spousal support is designed to allow the lower-earning spouse to get back on his or her feet financially.

In determining whether to order spousal support and in what amount, the court looks at factors including the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, a spouse's need for spousal maintenance and the other spouse's ability to pay it. There are three different durations of spousal maintenance: temporary, rehabilitative and permanent. These correlate with how long the recipient spouse will need financial support prior to becoming self-sufficient.

This post is intended to provide general information only, not legal advice. An experienced Illinois family law attorney can be a helpful resource if you have questions about your specific situation.

Source: ABC News, "Audio hangs over '7th Heaven' Actor's divorce case" Anthony McCartney, November 8, 2014

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