After just a year of marriage, 30-year-old actress Amber Heard has filed for divorce from Johnny Depp.
JOHNNY DEPP IS GETTING DIVORCED
Heard is citing irreconcilable differences and has requested spousal support, according to court papers. The official separation date was May 22.
The two met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and were married in February 2015 in two separate ceremonies – one at Depp’s West Hollywood, California, home and one on his private island in the Bahamas.
Last November, Heard dispelled rumors that the couple was having marital issues, telling Marie Claire during an interview, “I try not to react to the horrible misrepresentation of our lives, but it is strange and hard.”
Earlier this year, during his acceptance speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Depp said, “I also have to thank my wife, Amber, for putting up with me. For living with all these characters, which can’t be easy. It’s hard for me, it’s gotta be hard for her.”
During a recent junket for The Adderall Diaries, Heard discussed how important her privacy is to her.
“For me, in my life, the most precious thing I can have is my privacy,” she said. “I don’t have any reason or desire to [share], but I understand why people do and why they would. A lot of people find ways to do it for good and control their representation of themselves, which I think actors or celebrities typically have not had control over for a long time.”
A divorce, also known as dissolution, legally ends a marriage or domestic partnership. Following a divorce, both parties are considered single, and thus free to enter a new marriage or domestic partnership. In California, there are two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Two types of divorce are available in California: Summary Dissolution and Regular Dissolution. Summary Dissolution provides an easier way to handle divorce, as it only requires a few forms. You do not have to appear before a judge either. Summary Dissolution is only available to those who have been married or registered domestic partners less than five years, have no children together, and have few assets and debts. If a couple does not meet the requirements for Summary Dissolution they will need to file for Regular Dissolution. Know that every couple’s relationship and marriage is different, and that because of that every divorce will be different. For example, you might need to work out child custody agreements, while your friend’s divorce did not include child custody issues. Working with an attorney is the best way to determine the specific needs of your divorce. Still, there are some basic procedures that might apply. We discuss those steps below.
STEPS FOR DIVORCE
1. FILE PETITION
The first step in the divorce process is filing a petition. This must be done even if both spouses are okay with divorcing. One spouse must file a petition with the court to ask for a divorce. This petition states the grounds for divorce. In California, this is typically “irreconcilable differences.”
2. TEMPORARY ORDERS
If a spouse is dependent on the other for financial support or will have custody of the children, that spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. A temporary order for these things is usually granted within a few days and remains in effect until a full court hearing. If the spouse seeking the temporary order is the same spouse that is filing the petition, they should file the temporary order at the same time. If the spouse seeking the temporary order did not file the petition, they need to file their request for the temporary order as soon as possible.
3. SERVICE OF PROCESS
The spouse that files the divorce petition will also need to proof of service of process. This is a document that proves a copy of the divorce petition was given and received by the other spouse. You can either work with a process server, or in most cases when you work with a divorce attorney, they handle this part of the process.
The spouse receiving the service of process needs to file a response to the petition. The responding spouse may want to dispute the alleged grounds for divorce. If there is disagreement regarding property division, support, custody, or any other issue, this should be set out in the response.
Spouses will need to negotiate their differences if there are any. This is when mediation or collaborative divorce processes work. If spouses still do not agree, they may need to go to trial.
If spouses cannot come to an agreement on any aspect of a divorce, they will need to go to trial where a divorce court judge will rule on the divorce agreement.
7. CREATION OF THE ORDER OF DISSOLUTION
The order of dissolution is a decree that officially ends the marriage and spells out how all aspects of a marriage, including: the property and debts, custody, support and any other issues are to be divided. Two spouses that are able to negotiate on their own are able to draft an order of dissolution and submit it to the court. If this complies with the set legal requirements and both parties entered into it knowingly and willingly, then a judge approves it.
If you’re in the process of getting a divorce, looking for spousal support, or anticipate paying spousal support, you need to understand some important things. While a family law attorney can provide you with specifics about your situation, there are a few general things to know, including tax laws, awarding of spousal support, and what would happen if spousal support payments are not made. Spousal support, commonly known as alimony, is for people who were legally married and provides financial assistance to them. It recognizes the contributions a partner made to the marriage and is intended to help the partner obtain financial independence. The rules regarding spousal support differs from one state to another.
HOW MUCH IS SPOUSAL SUPPORT?
When a court hears a case for spousal support, it considers a number of issues including how long the marriage lasted, what the needs are of each spouse, the standard of living the marriage created and maintained, assets, spousal age, and many other factors that are specific to different states. Based on these various circumstances and issues, your divorce attorney can help create a case for spousal support for you.
HOW LONG IS SPOUSAL SUPPORT?
The court sets the length of time spousal support payments are made based on the review of arguments made. Payments typically last about the length of the marriage if it’s less than 10 years. In other words, if the marriage lasted six years, the length of spousal supports payments to be paid is three years. For longer marriages, the court may not set a specific time for spousal support payments. In a case such as this, your divorce attorney must proved your side for the duration. Your attorney can help you establish your case for the amount of time you’re seeking for spousal support, whether you are receiving or paying the payments. Using common law, the court will listen to all arguments and then decide on the spousal support duration.
IS SPOUSAL SUPPORT PERMANENT OR LIFETIME?
If “Lifetime” or “Permanent” spousal support has been ordered by the court, it means the support must be paid to the receiving spouse until the paying spouse dies. Sometimes it is ordered to be paid until the receiving spouse remarries, however this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the court will rule that even if the receiving spouse remarries they must still be paid spousal support. Since women are becoming a stronger element in the workforce, “permanent” or “lifetime” spousal support is being awarded less often, if at all. An appellate court has stated:
As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles either spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.
When determining spousal support, the court usually requires the higher earner, whether they are the husband or the wife, to assist the lower earner in an effort to help maintain their standard of living for a specified period of time.
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are facing a divorce, you should work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and give you advice based on it, rather than approach it with a one size fits all mindset. Your specific situation will be particular to you and your marriage and the way your life was set up during the marriage. This might mean major financial decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. They will be able to lead you through the process while keeping you from procrastination and caving into pressure. They’ll also be able to help ensure you meet all the required timelines while ensuring that you get a fair case and trial should you need to go to court. Lastly, they’ll be able to help you find the freedom and new life you are seeking – one that is entirely on your terms.
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