A once wildly popular actor and star of theMummy franchise, actor Brendan Fraser pleaded with a Connecticut court last month to reduce his $900,000 per year alimony payment.
The star married his ex-wife, actress Afton Smith, in 1998 after a courtship of five years, only to divorce one year later in 1999. The couple have three children.
At the time that his divorce was initially settled in 2009, Fraser was worth an estimated $45 million. However, since that time, the actor's earning power has plummeted considerably, and he has cited a number of unspecified "medical issues" as the cause.
To make matters worse, Fraser has been engaged in protracted litigation with producer Todd Moyer, who is suing him for an alleged assault that took place last year, after Fraser filed a suit claiming that Moyer delayed production on a film that the actor was supposed to star in.
As a result of these circumstances, Fraser has claimed that he is no longer able to afford to support his ex-wife in the amount originally ordered by the court.
In Ontario, either party may make an application to vary a spousal support order under section 17(1)(a) of the Divorce Act. However, in order for such a variation to be ordered, there must be a change in the circumstances of either the payor or the recipient.
In particular, section 17(4.1) of the Act provides:
"Before the court makes a variation order in respect of a spousal support order, the court shall satisfy itself that a change in the condition, means, needs or other circumstances of either former spouse has occurred..."
Clearly, in Fraser's situation, his is a change in means and could be considered by an Ontario court as a basis for reducing his child support obligation if proven.