According to media reports, actor and comedian John Cleese opened up about his divorce and spousal support obligations in a recent interview. Michigan residents familiar with Monty Python and the 74-year-old Cleese will find it interesting to learn that, according to him, despite his ripe old age, the actor apparently still has to work tirelessly in order to pay his ex-wife alimony.

In 2008 the actor divorced his wife of 16 years. The couple did not have any children together. However, when the couple’s divorce settlement was finalized the following year, it was stipulated that the actor would pay his ex-wife nearly $13 million in assets and cash. Furthermore, it was stipulated that he would pay her almost $1 million annually until 2016. Even though the actor remarried in 2012, he continues to pay his ex-wife alimony, and he noted that when the payments are done he would have paid her about $23 to $24 million. As a result of his spousal support obligation, the actor noted that he had to sell quite a bit of his property and will have to continue to work hard.

When it comes to alimony payments, courts take several factors into account before one party is required to pay it. Furthermore, where negotiations are possible between the divorcing couple, it is essential to stipulate an alimony amount which is not too burdensome or larger than necessary. In Michigan, courts take into account the earning potential, age, health of the parties and the length of time the couple was married when it makes a decision regarding alimony.

In the absence of a stipulated spousal support amount, courts use existing spousal support guidelines and take the aforementioned factors into account to determine an amount. Monthly alimony payments can be negotiated between parties. However, it is important for any stipulation to be fair for both sides. Thus, it is important for a divorcing couple to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney on such issues.

Source: Huffington Post, “John Cleese’s Alimony Payments Are No Laughing Matter,” Jan. 31, 2014