Articles Tagged with celebrity divorce

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Jennifer A. Crissman, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

           JAC-1-200x300 I must confess, as a family law attorney I cannot help reading about celebrity relationships. I find that even though it feels like celebrities are untouchable and have very different lives than our own when a celebrity relationship ends the same scenarios arise. Separation and divorce are the great equalizers, and no one is immune. If you have followed the recent celebrity news, you may have seen that Brad Pitt filed a motion this month asking the court in California for an emergency hearing on sealing the court file containing the details of his separation from Angelina Jolie. His argument was that he wanted to protect the couple’s six children from intense worldwide scrutiny.

The court denied his request for an emergency hearing, but there will be a hearing in January on whether to seal the file. As an observer, you may wonder why the court would not grant an emergency hearing on such a motion. It seems like a reasonable request; a parent urgently wants to protect his children’s privacy from nosy reporters, paparazzi, and onlookers. However, this is not enough for the court to grant an emergency hearing or to seal a file.

With regards to sealing a file, the public has the right to view court records which arises under both the common law and the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The rationale for this right is that the public monitoring of the judiciary is key to a functioning democracy. If judges were able to seal court files and close courtrooms freely, the public would have no way of monitoring the behavior of the judicial branch. Although the general presumption is that court records are open for public inspection and viewing, there are some ways to get a court file or at least portions sealed.

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Diana WestrickDiana Westrick, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

If you have happened upon your browser’s home screen, Facebook, Twitter, or any news outlet, you have already been bombarded with the news that Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt.

What? How?  Why?  Say it isn’t so!

While you have to love the efforts of gossip sites to always have the “inside scoop,” the currently available details are truly hearsay.  Unfortunately, that does not stop every proceeding media outlet to quote these unconfirmed theories as if they were fact.  While I am not one to indulge in celebrity news, I do have an amazement with how celebrities and their lives are portrayed to us “ordinary” folks.  In situations such as celebrity breakups and divorce, it may surprise you that I actually pity these people; they are going through a situation that is difficult-by-nature, but they also have to worry about their public image and how the media will portray them.  Despite what the truth of the situation may be, people believe what the news and magazines tell them.

Any reasonable person most likely already knows that gossip should be taken with a grain of salt.  However, how often do we develop biases solely based on what someone told us?  Keeping that in mind, I can all but guarantee this divorce is going to be pinned onto Brad Pitt.  Most outlets are already stating the claim that Angelina filed in order to keep the “health” of her family intact; she did not agree with Brad’s parenting style, and she wants full custody while he gets only visitation.  With only those details available, where does your mind go about his parenting?

No, I’m not going to use this blog as a means of venting my frustration with celebrity politics.  Rather, I am going to turn it over to you, Triad: I urge you to consider how gossip has impacted (for better or worse) your relationships with your family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.  Are you able to identify these different types of situations?

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By Diana Westrick, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

Diana WestrickWhile life in the Triad is far from the Hollywood experience, celebrities have a way of infiltrating our lives in such a way that allows us to live vicariously through them. Key in point, how many of you have yelled at your television when an episode of your favorite reality show ends on a cliffhanger?

Said in your most super-dramatic voice:

“How will I ever function through life if I can’t watch how >input celebrity name here< lives theirs?”

For those believing that a celebrity’s life experiences are just like those of the “lay” people, I hate to ground your illusion, but it is all scripted.  Sure, there may be some relatable moments, but keep in mind that they have a team of professionals whose sole task is to ensure their client maintains a positive media image.  Real things happen to celebrities, but you only get to see the pretty, shiny surface.

With all of that said, I am going to be completely contradictory and enact that you take note of and partake in some celebrity behavior, particularly when it comes to your divorce dealings. Have you ever noticed that, when asked about their impending divorce, celebrities always make a statement such as “we have together come to the difficult decision to split up . . . We have and will continue to have much respect for one another . . . Please respect our privacy during this time.”

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….But was that a smart decision for someone worth $400 million??

A premarital agreement is an agreement that changes the rules that the law normally applies when a marriage ends in divorce or death. Do you need a premarital agreement? You must determine whether you need to change the rules that the court normally applies to these matters.

The previous post in this series considered whether you might want an agreement to change the rules that apply to division of property at divorce. This post will consider whether you might want an agreement to change the rules that govern support of a spouse, or the rules that govern division of property upon death.

Upon divorce, the law normally requires the wealthier spouse  (the  “supporting spouse”) to pay support (traditionally called “alimony”) to the less wealthy spouse (the “dependent spouse”). N.C. Gen. Stat. (“G.S.”) § 50-16.3A.  Alimony is often not awarded after short marriages.   After medium-length marriages, alimony is often limited in both amount and duration.    After a long marriage,  however,  alimony can be a  significant obligation, especially if the dependent spouse has been out of the workforce for many years.

If the parties would prefer not to be responsible for the support of one another, the duty to pay alimony can be waived in a premarital agreement. Id. § 52B-4(a)(4).

When the court divides property upon death, it does not divide the property into marital property and separate property. Instead, if the deceased spouse has no will, the surviving spouse simply receives a percentage of the deceased spouse’s property. The exact percentage varies according to the type of property involved, and according to whether the deceased spouse is survived by children and/or parents, but it is rarely less than one-third. The percentage applies to all of the deceased spouse’s property, not just to marital property. Id. § 29-14.

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By Carolyn J. Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA—North Carolina Family Law Specialist

CarolynOne of my favorite stars is Gwen Stefani. She manages a life of motherhood, career with celebrity status, and fashion.  And, now she has just completed a divorce with her thirteen-year marriage to Gavin Rossdale, which produced Apollo (almost two); Kingston (age 9) and Zuma (age 7).  Rumors swirl that Gavin had an affair with the nanny, and Gwen apparently found nude photos of the nanny and plans for Gavin and the nanny to meet for sex—all found on the family iPad. The information on the family iPad yielded an abrupt end to this marriage.  Gavin had naughty behavior that uploaded from his iPhone to the cloud and downloaded to the linked family iPad.

Yes, this unintentional spying could happen in the North Carolina divorce. Why?  The iCloud (or any cloud), iPad, iPhone and other electronic devices are everywhere, and they link to each other.  While perhaps we all know this, we are trusting, I believe or maybe simply not observant.   There is the substantial risk that the children could see the naughty electronic evidence.

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13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_nBy Dana Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

Most separated couples probably do not think about complex jurisdictional issues when they are deciding child custody issues. Maybe the schedule is one week on, one week off, with the parents alternating weeks wherein they have sole physical custody of the child for a particular week. Maybe one parent has to move cross-country for a job opportunity, so instead the schedule is split around school with the child living with one parent during the school year and the other on summer vacation. These seem to make sense, dividing the custody of the child in the way that allows both biological parents to take an active role in raising their child. When the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Treaty is involved with parents in different countries, the issues become very complex very fast.

In some cases, child custody may be fairly easily to figure out, with both parties being in agreement concerning child arrangements and practicalities go. However, the situation may become difficult, either if the parties disagree about how the custody should be split – i.e., maybe one party wants to limit the other’s custody, or maybe both parties agree on 50/50 custody, but one parent thinks that the one week on, one week off schedule is too disruptive – or if unanticipated circumstances arise. It is in these cases that it is particularly important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law and divorce attorney.

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13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_nBy Dana Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

Even a productive and long-lived marriage can end in divorce. Just ask Jane Seymour and James Keach. The celebrity couple, known for their acting roles and producing, were married for 22 years and separated in 2013. At the end of 2015, Seymour and Keach filed a divorce settlement splitting the assets accumulated over the span of their marriage 50/50.

The former couple have openly stated that they respect each other, will work together to raise their two children, and continue to be active with their Open Hearts Foundation. If a marriage must end in divorce, it seems like Seymour and Keach have found the ideal path to follow after its demise. Continuing to respect your former partner may be a struggle, especially if your divorce was acrimonious and difficult, but it is important to maintain that level of dignity and decorum, especially when there are children involved. Having children together is a lifetime commitment, and it appears that the former couple has not only recognized that fact, but has also embraced it.

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