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Zooey Deschanel's divorce is now final

Our readers may be interested to hear the latest news about Zooey Deschanel, star of Fox's hit show, "New Girl." After separating from her now ex-husband last year, their divorce is final.

Deschanel separated from Death Cab for Cutie's lead singer, Ben Gibbard, on Halloween of last year and they filed for divorce the following December. The split was mutual, and there were no children from the marriage. Interestingly, both Deschanel and Gibbard waived their rights to spousal support.

Spousal support, also called alimony, is intended to help support a spouse who has either been earning a lower wage or no wage at all when compared to the paying spouse. The goal is to limit any unfair economic consequences resulting from the divorce. While child support is determined by specific monetary guidelines, the courts have wide discretion in awarding spousal support. The court can decide whether to award any support at all, the amount of support, and for how long the support will be paid.

However, there are guidelines provided by the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, and many states have based their spousal support statutes on this Act. The New Jersey statute lists similar guidelines that the court must consider. Some of the these factors include the ability of one spouse to pay and the other's spouse's need for the support, the length of the marriage or civil union; the physical and emotional condition of the parties; and the couple's standard of living while married and the likelihood that each spouse can continue to maintain such a lifestyle after the divorce.

It is important for New Jersey residents considering divorce to understand how spousal support works since the court has such wide discretion. Without accurate knowledge and assistance of an experienced attorney, a person could find him or herself paying too much or receiving too little.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Zooey Deschanel divorce: It's final," Christie D'Zurilla, Dec. 18, 2012

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