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Legal separation preceded recent celebrity divorce

A legal separation may be one way for couples considering a divorce to gain extra time for considering all options, possibly even for saving their marriage. If a couple does decide that a divorce is in their best interest, the legal separation may have jumpstarted the discussion process for issues such as property division, spousal support and child custody.

Yet there may be an exception to every rule, as the most recent update in the celebrity divorce of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher illustrates. The actors formally separated in November 2011 after six years of marriage. Only recently, however, did the celebrity couple agree on a divorce settlement. 

One of the reported issues of dispute was whether Moore would receive any spousal support from Kutcher. That request may have been motivated more by personal, rather than financial needs. According to reports, Moore’s financial net worth is estimated at $150 million. Some columnists claim that Moore’s request for alimony was motivated by Kutcher’s alleged infidelity.

Under California law, however, a couple may file for a no-fault divorce. That means that either spouse can file for divorce, even if the other spouse wants to remain married. It also means that claims of infidelity are irrelevant, at least in terms of whether a divorce can be granted. If a spouse refuses to participate, a divorce court might nevertheless grant a default judgment and make the divorce official.

If children are involved, however, a spouse may attempt to use alleged infidelity as grounds for obtaining legal custody and primary physical custody of children. A divorce court, in trying to determine the best interests of a child, might be interested in learning what kind of home environment accused of infidelity could provide, and whether the alleged extra-marital relationship might interfere in the spouse’s parenting ability. A divorce attorney might provide invaluable assistance when a spouse attempts such antics.

Source: nydailynews.com, “Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore divorce settled two years after split,” Chiderah Monde, Oct. 31, 2013

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