Shortly after a happy day, as he received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, actor Dennis Hopper’s increasingly bitter divorce case was back in court last week. As my colleague Winiviere Sy has previously noted, the Hopper case is as contentious as it is complex. In the latest twist, a Los Angeles family court judge has awarded spousal and child support, ruled the star’s wife and daughter can keep living in the family compound and urged everyone involved to speed things up, according to the CBC.
Hopper is suffering from cancer, and his attorney has described the actor as “terminally ill”. The 73-year old Hopper filed for a Southern California divorce from his wife of 14 years in January. The latest ruling by a Los Angeles divorce court judge allows his estranged wife to continue living in a family compound along with the couple’s 7 year old daughter, and required the actor to pay her $12,000 per month in support, according to the television network.
Hopper’s contentious California divorce is a reminder of how important it is to have an experienced Orange County divorce attorney in your corner from the very beginning of any Los Angeles or Orange County divorce and child custody proceeding.
Judges in California child custody disputes are required to act “in the best interests of the child.” It was precisely this standard that the judge in the Hopper case invoked last week when noting that, for the 7 year old, “having her extended family in a war with her mother is not in her best interests.” This, and the advanced state of the actor’s illness, prompted the judge’s admonition to all sides, calling for a speedier, less combative, proceeding.
An Orange County divorce attorney can offer invaluable advice, working to see that your case never reaches so contentious a stage – or that if it does, that your interests are aggressively defended. Protecting your relationship with your children should be a key element of any California divorce and custody settlement. In many respects, Dennis Hopper’s story is an example of the sort of proceeding most divorcing couples hope to avoid. An experienced Southern California divorce lawyer will do everything possible to spare you that sort of trauma.