They were, until a few months ago, California’s First Couple: the immigrant body-builder who improbably rose to be, first, a movie star and then, even more improbably, governor. And his glamorous wife: a member of the Kennedy family and former correspondent for NBC News. As most of the state knows by now, however, the marriage of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver is in trouble. The couple announced yesterday that they are separating after 25 years of marriage.
The Los Angeles separation comes just over four months after Schwarzenegger left office and follows a period during which, as the Los Angeles Times noted, it had become clear that Shriver and the former governor were leading increasingly separate lives. The newspaper called the California separation announcement “a split that marks the foundering of one of America’s most famous marriages.”
Only two of the couple’s four children are still minors (and one of those is a 17-year-old high school senior) according to the Times, so child custody and visitation issues are unlikely to figure heavily in whatever settlement agreement the couple may eventually reach. Unless a prenuptial agreement exists, however, the length of the marriage would entitle Shriver to a substantial share of the wealth from Schwarzenegger’s long film career.
There is, of course, the possibility that the couple may reconcile – one of the purposes of a separation is often to give spouses some time apart during which they can consider the best way forward. Even at this stage, however, it is important for anyone considering a California divorce to consult an experienced divorce attorney.
As any Orange County divorce lawyer can tell you, professional legal advice can be essential at every stage of the process – even if both parties eventually decide not to go ahead with a dissolution of the marriage. A Los Angeles, Costa Mesa or Anaheim family law attorney can help clients considering an end to their marriage by offering appropriate advice regarding the many legal and financial issues involved. Such advice during the separation period can be an important factor in whatever decision the client eventually makes.
Los Angeles Times: The unraveling of the Schwarzenegger-Shriver marriage
Entertainment Weekly: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announce separation