A down economy doesn’t spare anyone, not even Anne Heche.
After the announcement by ABC (DIS) that Men in Trees will not be returning to the small screen next season, the show’s star says that she can no longer afford to pay the $14,798 in child and spousal support she owes her ex-husband Coley Laffoon each month.
Since losing her job, Heche, 38, wrote in court papers, "I am continuing to look for work, but I have no offers pending and the impending strike by the Screen Actors Guild reduces my prospects for work even further." On May 14, a judge gave her a temporary break by saying she didn't have to pay her next support payment. But she will have to provide updated income and expense information before a more definite decision can be made.
In addition to the support, Heche has stated that she can’t afford to pay the private school tuition for her son, Homer, 6; the mortgage on her house in Canada; the rent on her Los Angeles home, and her car expenses. She wrote, "Since January 18, 2008, I have been unemployed and had no income from employment except for one very short-term contract for a movie role for which I received a total of $65,00, approximately the amount I received for one episode of 'Men in Trees'. I do receive some residuals from previous acting work. However, the amounts are nominal and are offset by recurring business expenses that must be paid whether or not I am working."The good news from the experts is that Heche seems to be approaching the situation in the right way. According to Bart Rescnicoff, a family law attorney in Great Neck, NY, if there has been a significant change in income, a parent can seek a reduction in their child support payments. However, it is important to note that the job loss must have occurred through no fault of the parent. “If a judge finds that a job loss was intentional, particularly if they did it because they no longer wanted to make their payments, they will not give you a break,” says Rescincoff.