Archives for February 2013

Celeb Last Names: Marriage and Children

Beyonce and daughter Blue Ivy Knowles-Carter

It is not abnormal for husbands to adapt their wife’s last name or even connect their last names together, although it is rare.  Married celebrity couples are getting better at integrating their names together.  Take for example Beyonce Knowles and Shawn Carter (aka: Jay-Z).  They opted to connect their last names together, therefore, making it Knowles-Carter because Beyonce’s parents didn’t have any sons.  This way, the Knowles name will continue to live through Beyonce and Jay-Z’s newest baby girl, Blue Ivy.

It is easy for the wife to adopt her husband’s last name but it isn’t so easy when it comes to husband’s adopting his wife’s name.  In fact, only 9 states allow men to change their names after marriage.  These include California, New York, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Iowa, Georgia, and North Dakota.  However, there is still a sense of discrimination for a name change.  In California, a man would have to pay a court fee over $300, run a newspaper ad for several weeks to publish your name change, and go to the court for a judge’s approval.  However, a woman would have to pay $50-$80 for a name change, depending on the county.  Furthermore, a woman’s name change will occur right on the marriage license whereas a man’s name change is completely independent from his marriage.  In California, especially Los Angeles and Orange County, an increasing number of couples have decided to join their names together as an act of love and equality.


Will Kim K’s Pregnancy Rush the Divorce?

Kim Kardashian officially filed for separation late 2011 to husband, Kris Humphries, and continues to roll over the process into 2013.  Kardashian is now expecting a baby with current boyfriend, Kanye West.  Due to pregnancy, Kardashian declared in the Los Angeles Superior Court that she is hoping to speed up the divorce process and make sure that she is not married to Humphries when she delivers her newborn.  However, Humphries’ attorney claims, “What is really going on here is that an ‘urgency’ in the form of an apparently unplanned pregnancy, something the Respondent had nothing to do with, is perceived by Plaintiff as an opportunity to gain a litigation advantage by trying to force this court to prematurely set this matter for trial.”  Furthermore, Humphries’ attorney questions other motives for Kardashian’s speedy end of marriage, asking,  “What is there in the raw footage of this televised courtship, 72-day marriage and resultant breakup that they are so afraid of us discovering?” 

Discovery is the legal process that gives the permission to request any documents from your spouse or third parties whom may have helpful information.  Helpful information can be any information about your opposing spouse that will favor your case when it comes time to convince the judge to rule in terms of custody, alimony, and other related issues.  The discovery process is involved between filing divorce and the final trial when the divorcing couple disagrees on the terms of the divorce.  The purpose of having a discovery is to present concrete evidence for the divorce trial and settlement negotiations.  The process starts once divorce papers are served and finishes a month or two before trial.  The deadline for discovery is usually set by the court.  Subpoenas may be requested during the discovery process.  These are legal documents that are ordered to be provided, usually from third parties.  The party that receives the subpoena must submit to the order unless he/she has a legal excuse.  If the subpoena is served to a third party, there has to be a proof of service to the court.  Other documents that can be requested during discovery are financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, and information about income and assets.  Furthermore, depositions may also occur during the discovery process.  Depositions are when both parties of the divorce, along with their attorneys, are questioned under oath in order to collect more information to help the divorce case.  The record from the depositions is legitimate information that can be presented in court to show inconsistencies in a person’s testimony.

In the event of Kim Kardashian’s and Kris Humphries’ divorce proceedings in Los Angeles, Humphries is using Kardashian’s television show to collect more information for discovery purposes.  If the trial date is set at an earlier time, there will be less time for the discovery.  Hence, Humphries’ attorney questions whether or not there is anything to hide during the discovery process if Kardashian insists to have the divorce over and done with.


Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti- Divorcing

It has  been announced that Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti are divorcing after 12 years of marriage.  They have no children together and have shown their commitment to each other, even during this life changing event.  They both carry “special love, integrity, and respect” for each other and even tweeted to each other “family forever” (People magazine).  This amicable divorce sounds easy in a time of complications and stress.  And it’s true.  Uncontested divorces are much easier on both spouses than divorces that end up in the courtroom.  Amicable divorces are less expensive and are completed in less time than a courtroom divorce.

Dario Franchitti, Ashley Judd at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards

By having an amicable divorce, you are saving the people around you from the trials and tribulations of your divorce.  The effects of your actions immediately carry over to your children, family members, friends, in-laws, and everyone else who hears about your decisions and sees the impacts on others.   The best way to go about having an amicable divorce is to find an expert lawyer who knows how to manage conflict in family law cases.  By having an experienced and wise lawyer on your side, he/she will guide you through your options and allow to make the best decision given the circumstances.  It is always wise to ask for the least contentious option.  Being amicable doesn’t mean you are a pushover, it means that you are well-prepared to fairly handle and address your issues with your spouse outside of the courtroom.

The beginnings of a legal issue is a big factor in how you react to it.  You need to handle your divorcing in a sensitive manner and avoid “personally serving” someone without notice.  Personally serving your spouse is usually unnecessary and will make your spouse feel attacked.  Have the courage to talk with your spouse about a possibility of a divorce, that way your spouse can voluntarily accept the paperwork without having a 3rd party involved.  Make it a priority to talk about a divorce with your spouse and consent with each other your thoughts about ending your marriage.


Affair, Divorce, Celebrities… Hollywood

The affair between director Rupert Sanders and actress Kristen Stewart of the movie Snow White & the Huntsman unraveled the 15 years of marriage between Sanders and wife, Liberty Ross. Ross filed for divorce after 6 months of the affair and cited her divorce filing on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”  While Sanders realizes his mistakes and tries everything in his power to save his marriage, he also seeks joint physical and legal custody of their two children (Skyla, 8, Tennyson, 6) that was requested by Ross. In addition, Ross requested that Sanders pay for spousal support and her attorney’s fees. Out of all marriages, there is a 31% chance that your marriage will persevere after an affair and a 53% chance that your marriage will not.  In California, there is a 75% divorce rate with 33% of the marriages being torn by infidelity.

Liberty Ross, Rupert Sanders arrives at the ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ Los Angeles premiere

Legally, an extramarital relationship does not affect a divorce case in California.  California is known as a “no fault” state, which means that a dissolution of a marriage doesn’t require a showing of wrong-doing of either party nor any evidentiary proceedings at all.  When a spouse commits infidelity, it has no importance in the divorce case. There are no consequences of infidelity in relation to child custody, child support, spousal support, or property division.  The only way infidelity impacts a divorce proceeding is if one spouse uses his/her marital assets to support an extra-marital relationship or if a cheating spouse carries on a relationship in front of his/her children and expose them to inappropriate people or situations during the course of the affair. There is a consequence if the cheating spouse picks up a sexually transmitted disease and infects his/her spouse with that illness. In that case, it can lead to a personal injury action between the spouses called an interspousal tort. The extramarital events that impact the marriage may have consequences to follow but the act of an extramarital affair does not.

The biggest effect that infidelity can influence during a divorce is the negotiation of settlement.  It is important to be in a calm state of mind when making important decisions regarding your finances, your children, and your lifestyle.  People who make the best choices in their divorce negotiations are able to separate their actions that are best for themselves and their families from the actions that they would take about the infidelity.