John Mellencamp and Wife Elaine Announce Divorce

A spokesman for John Mellencamp confirmed last week that the rocker and his wife of 20 years, Elaine, plan to divorce, according to the Associated Press. It was unclear from the agency report, as well as accounts of the break-up on a number of celebrity-watching blogs, whether the couple plan a California divorce or intend to file in another state.

Mellencamp is famously from a small town in Indiana – a fact he has built into many of his hit songs (including one about his marriage to Elaine, a former model). The couple have been raising their children in Indiana, according to the AP, but also own property in California and, by some accounts, may seek to finalize their divorce here.

If these reports are accurate that would make Mellencamp’s split the latest in a growing line of celebrity break-ups to involve jurisdictional questions. As Winiviere Sy and I have noted in earlier posts, celebrities and their spouses can have a number of reasons for seeking a California or Orange County divorce, or for seeking to avoid one. Shaquille O’Neal’s wife sought to establish residency here shortly before her break-up with the basketball star, apparently with an eye on California’s community property laws. A similar focus on community property may lead Michael Douglas’ ex-wife Diandra into a Los Angeles or Orange County family law court as she continues her battle for a share of the money his earnings from the latest Wall Street movie. Sandra Bullock, in contrast, filed for divorce in Texas with an eye toward avoiding public scrutiny.

Looked at that way, what the Mellencamp situation highlights is the importance of strong, experienced legal counsel whenever one embarks on a potentially difficult and complex life decision, such as a Los Angeles or Orange County divorce. An Orange County divorce and family law attorney can advise clients on strategies that are both attuned to their personal circumstances and designed to protect their interests where property, money and, most importantly, California child custody and visitation are concerned.

AP via Huffington Post: John Mellencamp & wife Elaine SPLIT: Divorce after 20 years