Why Can Roseanne Barr Re-Open Her Custody Arrangements?

Roseanne Barr’s third divorce was finalized in 2002. She and her former bodyguard Ben Thomas reached an agreement at that time which was intended to be completely confidential and remain sealed. 

Since then Thomas disclosed parts of the agreement by making it and the discussions around it public.  In so doing, he breached the agreement itself and also upset the delicate balance which had been the couple’s custody arrangement regarding their 15 year old son, Buck.

Under the exisitng agreement, Roseanne was to pay for Thomas and his new wife to fly to Hawaii for 10 days each month, all expenses paid, to be with Buck.  By breaching the intent of the agreement – privacy – and upsetting the primary payer in the arrangement – Roseanne Barr – Thomas probably destroyed what could have been a great deal for himself, his wife and his son.

Under common rules of contract construction, once a party breaches one aspect of a contract (here, the privacy component), the other party is no longer bound by all aspects of the agreement. The cpourts do not enforce contracts so that one party must comply while the other does whatever he or she wants.

Under most states’ family laws, the questions surrounding a minor child – such as custody, visitation and child support – continue to be issues a court can re-open, even after the rest of the case is closed.  So long as a child has not reached the age of majority, a court can continue to become involved and evaluate the current set of circumstances surrounding the minor child’s life.

A court needs to balance whether at 15 years old, Buck’s access to his father should be his father’s responsibility, his mother’s responsibility or both.  The court must also take into account both Roseanne Barr’s right to privacy in her familial dealings and Ben Thomas’ right to air whatever greivance he feels towards his ex-wife.

While it may seem counter-intuitive for a judge to delve into this agreement 9 years after the couple divorced, it is in the child’s best interest that a court be involved.

WHAT WE LOVE:  While we cannot predict the outcome of this latest battle, we know that a judge will be looking at the best interests of the child, no matter what motivates the kid’s parents.

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How Does Eva Longoria’s Newest Press Circuit Help?

 

Post divorce Eva Longoria is appearing on TV talk shows with David Letterman, Piers Morgan and Rachael Ray as well as in magazines like Allure discussing her emotional difficulties and challenges during and since her divorce from Tony Parker. 

Is this celebrity gamesmanship, in which she gives herself more emotional damage by re-living the mess? Is she trying to gain public sympathy and thereby somehow harm Parker’s public image? Does sad play better than well-adjusted in TV interviews? 

Probably not.

In interview after interview Longoria talks about the difficulty she had in going through her divorce, how much the marriage meant to her and the fact that she is uncomfortable dating.  Her life has been turned upside-down, not having Lakers games to attend on a regular basis and needing to re-construct a new life for herself.

All of these are very real challenges that face newly divorced people every day.  Post divorce people look around at their lives and see where the holes have been left and wonder how to fill them. While one way might be replacing basketball games with book stores, an important tool available to almost anyone is simply speaking out.

 Your friends and family want to know what you are thinking and feeling. It may feel tedious to have to say, “I am sad. I feel alone. I do not want to date again.”  But unless you say it, no one knows.  If your friends don’t know what hurts they don’t know how to help in whatever small (or large) ways they can. 

Longoria is doing what might be the healthiest thing she could be doing right now – letting those who care about her know what she feels.  People who think she should get over it already do not really care about her – no matter what she does.  She will get over it when she is ready to move on.  And that moment will likely come sooner if she continues to acknowledge whatever feelings are standing between her and her own happiness.

What we love:  It is not always easy to let others know your feelings; but it is almost always worth it; especially during one of the most challenging periods in your life.

What factors might a judge consider in Elizabeth Hurley’s divorce?

Elizabeth Hurley has filed for divorce from her husband of four years, Arun Nayar.  She was worth 13 billion pounds or so, before they married, from her work as a model, actress, spokesperson and designer.  Hurley is also famous for her bad relationships.  She helped make Hugh Grant famous by staying at his side, as his girlfriend of 11 years, after he was caught paying a prostitute.  Then, after she and Grant split, she gave birth to a son but had to use a paternity test to convince the biological father of his role in the boy’s life.

Then, in 2007, she married Nayar, a supposed heir to a fortune, but it turns out she is worth substantially more money than he is.  He refused to sign a prenuptial agreement which might have protected her – and her son – in case of a divorce.  Hurley and Nayar have been separated for several months.  This was made public after she was caught kissing Australian cricket player Shane Warne.  (Shane Warne is divorced from his wife, still lives with her and their children and has been reportedly involved recently with an adult film actress.)

Hurley does not seem to have great luck with men.

So, when Elizabeth Hurley goes before divorce court what factors might a judge consider in how much of Hurley’s money to award to Nayar?

*          How much money did each party bring to the marriage?

*          What ability does each party have to earn money after the divorce?

*          How will Nayar’s lifestyle be effected if he is not supported by Hurley?

*          How will Hurley’s lifestyle be effected by having to support Nayar?

*          Has Nayar contributed to the support and well-being of Hurley’s son? If so, their may be a child-support offset to some of the award.

*          How much education does each party have?

*          Some jurisdictions consider the causes of the breakdown of the marriage.  Hurley has cited Nayar’s “irrational behavior” as the cause of the divorce and can probably substantiate Nayar’s relationship with a 23 year old model.

*          If Nayar is heir to a major textile fortune, as reported, he might stand to inherit significant money in the future.  If so, depending on how soon and how much he stands to inherit, a judge might weigh these factors against a need for Hurley to continue supporting him.

What we love:  The court’s first consideration must be, as must Hurley’s, the best interest of the minor child. So long as his interests are protected his mother might be out some money or his step-dad might be feeling the pinch soon; but the 8 year old should be fine.

 Let’s hope his mom starts making better decisions after this!

Tony Danza waits 4 years from Separation to Divorce. Why?

 According to papers filed on Danza’s behalf in the LA County Superior Court, Tony and Tracy Danza married in 1986 and separated in 2006, yet they waited until now to file for a divorce.  What could be some of the advantages of waiting this long?

 *          Danza has three children.  His son from his first marriage,  now married with a son himself, and two daughters with Tracy Danza: 23 year old Katherine and 17 year old Emily.  When the couple first separated Emily was 12 years old and still a minor child.  In the current filing, Danza states that there are no minor children of the marriage.  So if Emily is no longer considered a minor in the eyes of the California court, it might be that the Danzas had decided to wait until she was older to finalize their divorce.  This can prevent the court’s ability to get involved with decisions such as custody, child support, and visitation; hopefully leaving mature adults to work it out together independently.

 *          Divorce can feel too permanent to people who might just “need a break” from each other.  Sometimes a temporary physical and emotional separation can remind people of why they married in the first place and bring them a stronger sense of commitment to each other and their marriage.  Maybe the Danza separation was based on a hope that it would be a temporary split, eventually bringing them back together.  If, after four years of separation, the parties still do not feel a mutual desire to reconcile, they can be pretty sure they never will.

Regardless of whether the separation was to protect the children from legal battles or with hopes of reconciliation or other reasons, the effect of going through an extended separation prior to filing for divorce is that the waiting period frequently serves to cool hot emotions. 

When one spouse feels that the other is in a rush to be divorced and “free” issues can become protracted and arguments get heated.  When there is an opportunity to allow everyone a long separation and a chance to cool off, the divorce itself can be as simple as a business transaction.

 There are ways of protecting your rights during a separation period. Many states have instituted court-sanctioned legal separation, as well as other alternatives to a final divorce.

WHAT WE LOVE:  low emotional content; cooler heads prevailing