There have been two noteworthy developments in the last few days in the divorce proceedings of Kelsey Grammer and his wife, Camille Donatacci. According to Canada’s CTV News, the long-time star of Fraiser and his third wife, now a reality-TV star in her own right, have reached an impasse over the terms of their California divorce settlement.
The network reports that Camille “reportedly rejected a $30 million divorce settlement” on the grounds that it offers neither child support nor alimony. According to numerous media reports over the last few months, the couple do not have a pre-nuptial agreement. That being the case, CTV reports that Donatacci believes she is due approximately $50 million on the basis of her 14 -year-marriage to Grammer and her status as a partner in his TV production company.
In the wake of this development, celebrity-watching website TMZ reports that Grammer is now seeking to speed up the divorce process by asking a California family court judge to bifurcate the couple’s Southern California divorce. Under California law, bifurcation is a procedure by which the legal dissolution of a marriage is legally split off from the financial issues raised by the divorce. This was what happened recently in the long-running divorce case of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie. Thanks to a recent Los Angeles family court ruling they are now no longer married, though many (arguably, most) of the financial issues arising from the end of the McCourts’ marriage remain unresolved.
From Grammer’s point of view, bifurcation would allow him to move ahead with marriage to his current girlfriend, Kayte Walsh. The downside of it, from Camille’s perspective, could be that granting Kelsey’s request to dissolve the marriage could remove much of the incentive he currently has to reach a final settlement agreement.
These are the sort of considerations that a skilled and detail-oriented Orange County divorce lawyer can help clients identify as both legal procedures and settlement negotiations move forward. As I have often said, each case is unique. The role of an Orange County divorce lawyer is to help you consider issues such as bifurcation in the context of your personal financial, emotional and marital circumstances.