Most residents of Rhode Island are probably aware that a high number of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Young and old alike are seeking divorces as a way to start a new chapter in their lives. Recently, Mel Gibson's 93-year-old father filed for divorce from his wife, who is in her 70s. The pair has been married since 2002. The reason cited for the divorce was irreconcilable differences, and the wife is seeking spousal support.
If Mel Gibson's father is required to pay spousal support it most likely will not be as much as Mel Gibson himself had to pay in his 2009 divorce from his wife of 31 years. When the divorce was finalized, Mel Gibson's wife walked away with over half of his $850 million, making it one of the most expensive celebrity divorce settlements.
The purpose of alimony, often called spousal support, is to remedy unfair economic disparity that a divorce may create for the spouse with the lower income. Alimony is only ordered for the time necessary for the lower income spouse to become self-supporting. The support payments also will generally end if the spouse receiving support payments remarries.
The amount of alimony awarded in Rhode Island may be determined by an agreement between the former spouses, or the court may order a certain amount based on factors including the financial condition of the former spouses, the standard of living during the marriage and the length of the marriage.
Traditionally, alimony was usually awarded only to a wife. However, as modern couples are often both wage earners, the number of orders awarding alimony payments from the woman to her ex-husband is growing.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Mel Gibson's Dad files for divorce," June 4, 2012