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Schwarzenegger changes mind on spousal support

Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has reportedly changed his mind after indicating in his original divorce filing that he did not wish to pay spousal support to his wife after the two separate. He has reversed his decision, saying that he made a mistake filling out the divorce paperwork and plans to pay for legal counsel as well. However, some experts believe that the change was not due to a mistake, but is rather a deliberate public relations move after negative reactions to his initial choice.

In Maryland, spousal support payments are determined based on several factors, such as the ability of the receiving spouse to support him or herself, the standard of living the couple enjoyed while married, the length of the marriage and how much each spouse contributed to family finances. While similar guidelines exist in most states, some experts believe that Schwarzenegger assumed that a multimillion-dollar payment would suffice in settling the divorce and that it would free him from having to pay spousal support to his wife.

In most cases, splitting collective net worth as settlement in divorces between wealthy spouses provides substantially for both parties. However, public reaction to Schwarzenegger's original choice not to pay spousal support - along with his indiscretion with the family's housekeeper - may have led him to change his mind in order to save his reputation, some analysts believe.

One expert suggested that the incident will have little effect on the actual settlement, explaining that the paperwork was only form filing and that the couple will likely resolve their dispute in private.

Source: TIME, "Spousal Support for Maria Shriver? Schwarzenegger Says No, Then Yes," Bonnie Rochman, July 27, 2011

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