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Articles Posted in Settlement

Charlie Sheen and his estranged wife Brooke Mueller filed competing Los Angeles divorce petitions last week, according to a report in People magazine. The latest act in what has become a bit of a California family law soap opera raises questions about the status of the document the couple signed last summer. At the time, that document was widely described as a “divorce settlement,” but if last week’s reports concerning the petitions signed and filed by Sheen and Meuller are correct it is clear that matters between the couple are far from ‘settled’.

People reports that Southern California child custody remains a significant sticking point between the two. Sheen, has requested “joint physical and legal custody” of the couple’s 18-month-old twin boys. Mueller is seeking primary physical custody with only visitation rights for Sheen. According to CNN the boys have been living solely with their father since Christmas of last year, when a fight in an Aspen, Colorado hotel room landed Sheen in jail on domestic violence charges after Mueller claimed he threatened to kill her. According to CNN the felony assault charges “were reduced to a misdemeanor third-degree assault count in exchange for his guilty plea in August.” Under that plea agreement the time Sheen later spent in a California rehab center was counted as his sentence on the Colorado conviction.

Even though Sheen and Mueller appear to have reached terms for a California divorce settlement back in June these latest developments indicate that the terms of their break-up are far from settled. The fact that they waited nearly five months after signing last summer’s settlement before moving the case forward, and then wound up filing competing Los Angeles divorce petitions requesting significantly different child custody arrangements, indicates that a long, and potentially contentious, Southern California divorce proceeding may lie ahead of them. It is fair to ask whether the case will now be more difficult for both Sheen and Mueller because of their decision to wait so long before moving forward.

In the latest twist in what is becoming a large – and very public – Southern California divorce proceeding, businessman Elon Musk has published a long essay at The Huffington Post to, in his words, “correct” the public record about his California divorce from ex-wife Justine and his financial situation.

As I originally noted back in May, Justine, a successful novelist, has taken to blogging about her divorce, using the public forum of the internet to defend her contention that the couple’s post-marital agreement was “extremely harsh” and needs to be renegotiated. Several weeks later word began circulating in the business press that Musk was essentially broke – subsisting on loans from friends “and spending $200,000 a month while making far less.”

In his Huffington Post article Elon Musk, one of the founders of PayPal, seeks to address the image those reports created: of a man so rich that he felt he could not scrape by each month on what, for most Americans, is a head-spinning sum of money. While stating that “I never said… I was “broke” or even that I lacked considerable assets,” Musk claims that the vast majority of that monthly figure – $170,000 – is going to the accountants and lawyers working on his divorce-related issues. Another $20,000, he says, goes to Justine each month with the remaining $10,000 covering his own living costs. He also goes out of his way to defend his continued use of a private plane, saying it is essential to his work as head of both SpaceX, a company trying to bring commercial uses to space exploration and Tesla, an auto company that is preparing to launch an all-electric car aimed at consumers.

Actor Michael Douglas and his first wife Diandra finalized their Southern California divorce a decade ago, but she now insists their California family court settlement entitles her to half of his profits from a movie that hasn’t even been released yet. According to the New York Post, Diandra has filed suit in a New York court seeking half of the money Douglas will receive from “Wall Street 2”, a sequel to his 1987 Oscar-winner. The movie is scheduled to premier in September.

According to the celebrity website PopEater, Diandra’s claim is based on a clause in the couple’s California divorce settlement giving her half of the proceeds from work Douglas did during the couple’s marriage. Since Douglas plays the same character in the new movie that he did in the original, she is asserting that the forthcoming film fits the settlement’s definition of “residuals, merchandising and ancillary rights”.

According to the Post, Douglas’ lawyers have filed papers claiming that a “sequel” is not the same thing as a “spinoff”. Were the new film the latter, they say, she would have a case; but, they argue, it is the former – and that means she is not entitled to a cut. Douglas’ lawyers are also arguing that California family court is the proper venue for the suit since the couple were divorced in the state. Diandra’s attorneys say they filed in New York because that is where both of the ex-spouses now live.

From an Orange County Divorce perspective, it’s always interesting when people are involved in a divorce, they suddenly claim they are in a financial crisis and cannot afford to pay for anything. I’m not saying the decline in income is intentional but it certainly is coincidental. Turns out that Tiki Barber is now claiming that he cannot pay the divorce settlement owed to his ex-wife, Ginny Barber, after he was let go from NBC’s “Today” show.

Barber left his wife of 11 years, Ginny, for a 23-year old blond former NBC intern. Barber alleges that his career is in shambles and that he is in financial woes because his contract for NBC for $300,000 ended. Indeed, Barber has not been on the air in many months. However, it is reported that Barber’s contract was only formally terminated in May.

If you are presently engaged in a divorce, it is not a good idea to purposefully allege you are broke and are in a financial crisis if its really not the case. There are serious consequences for same. If you are in need of an Orange County divorce attorney, please contact a reputable family law attorney.

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