Mel B, formerly of The Spice Girls, made her first public appearance without her wedding ring during the season 12 kickoff of America’s Got Talent. This is the first time she’s appeared in public since filing for divorce from estranged husband of 10 years, Stephen Belafonte.
MEL B NO LONGER WEARING WEDDING BAND
Just a few days after it was confirmed that she had filed for divorce, Mel B, 41, was not wearing her wedding band during the kickoff of America’s Got Talent. The singer filed from Belafonte, 41, just one month shy of their 10-year wedding anniversary. The couple was married in June 2007 just after five months of dating. The date of separation in the couple’s divorce papers was listed as December 28, 2016. Mel B, who was the one who filed for divorce, requested joint legal and physical custody of their daughter, Madison Brown Belafonte, 5. Additionally, the singer requested to terminate the court’s ability to award spousal support.
OPTIONS WHEN YOU WANT TO END MARRIAGE
There are three legal options for couples looking to end their marriage or domestic partnership: divorce, legal separation, and annulment.
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.
LEGAL SEPARATION IS AN OPTION
Legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership and parties are not allowed to remarry or enter a new domestic partnership. This is a good option for couples looking to separate their finances and property without divorcing. Whether the legal separation ends in reconciliation or divorce there are some rules of engagement you should follow. Here are some tips to consider.
LEGAL SEPARATION BEHAVIORS “TO-DO”
- Use this time to reflect on your marriage and how you are feeling regarding the process.
- Consider the emotional needs of any children that are involved.
- Remember legal separation is not the time to jump into a new relationship.
- Keep all communication open with your spouse. Try to be respectful in all forms of communication. This will mean less stress for you and any children involved.
- Set up a parenting plan that outlines regular visitation schedules. This should follow along with your child’s daily activities, such as school and any extracurriculars.
- Follow every responsibility outlined in the legal separation agreement. This includes any child support payments or spousal support payments. Not doing so might mean court time or fines.
LEGAL SEPARATION AGREEMENT
If you and your spouse have decided to try legal separation instead of, or prior to getting a divorce, it’s important that you work with a divorce attorney to create a legal and binding separation agreement. This agreement will offer you legal protection should your spouse violate the agreement you have come to.
CONTAINED IN THE LEGAL SEPARATION AGREEMENT
There are numerous things that should be contained in your separation agreement, including the following (if they apply): Spousal Support -Who will be paying whom? How does this impact taxes? Benefits – Legal separation allows you to retain certain benefits gained during a marriage, such as health insurance. Home – Outline who will pay for the home mortgage, as well as the maintenance of the home, such as utilities and lawn care. You should clearly define who is able to live in the home. Joint Accounts – This includes: joint checking, savings, and credit accounts. You might also choose to freeze these accounts or close them and open separate accounts. You should make it clear who pays what account. Protection from Acquired Debt – A legal separation agreement should also outline any debt in order to shield you from being held responsible for debt acquired during the separation.
LEGAL SEPARATION NOT DIVORCE
Remember that a legal separation is not a divorce. While it gives a couple time and space to decide what the next step is, it is not the official end of a marriage. If you wish to return your legal status to “single” you will need to file for a legal divorce.
With an annulment, the court rules that the marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid due to reasons such as the following: Incest, fraud, or physical or mental incapacity, Marriage or domestic partnership was entered into by force, One of the spouses was already married or in a domestic partnership, One of the spouses was not of legal age to enter into marriage or domestic partnership Annulments are rare and require an appearance before a judge.
ARE CELEBRITY COUPLES LIKE US, OR NOT?
While we all have challenges, celebrity couples have additional, unique challenges the average person doesn’t. These include long days, months, and sometimes years on location with their sexy co-stars, and being bombarded with droves of fans who are love-struck trying to get close to them 24-hours every day. Los Angeles resident Laura Jansen, 24, sums it this way, “I am just not on the same planet as Demi and Ashton.”
HOW CELEBRITY DIVORCES MIGHT HELP
Celebrity divorces may actually be helpful, though. Many times divorce, whether it’s you, your parents, or you or your family’s friends, is kept hush-hush because nobody is supposed to talk about it. New York University sociology professor and the author of “Going Solo” says, “While it can be difficult to speak our mind when someone close to us divorces, riffing on Heidi and Seal helps us to process it. We’re interested in celebrities’ revolving-door marriages because so many of us have experienced the same thing among our circle.”
THE UPSIDE IN VIEWS OF MARRIAGE
Another upside to this view of marriage is the pressure that’s taken off women when it comes to getting married. A survey revealed that approximately 33% of women would feel fine checking the “single” box for the rest of their life. And 59% felt divorce was healthy, especially if the couple fell out of love with each other. With the Hollywood fantasy of perfect marriages, what do people want and expect from today’s marriages? Something truly great! Experts feel this is a high expectation for marriage since it now seems to be an “option” instead of the “standard.” University of Virginia media studies and sociology professor Andrea L. Press says, “There’s a real strengthening of the idea that marriage is now about personal growth and fulfillment.” And Laura from L.A. says, “Getting married is really important to me, but I won’t do it unless it’s going to be amazing.”
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
An attorney will help you determine which option is the best option for you and your spouse. They will also be able to ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly. Ending a marriage can be difficult and working with a professional attorney can help to lessen the legal pain.
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