While it appeared earlier this summer that Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne’s 33-year-marriage was headed towards divorce, it now appears that the couple has decided to reconcile.
SHARON AND OZZY RECONCILE
On Monday, July 25, Ozzy spoke to Good Morning America about his side of things. He noted that things were “back on track again” after “drifting apart for a while … you get back on the horse.” Sharon voiced her take on Ozzy’s statements on her talk show The Talk, saying: “Um, ‘Get back on the horse,’ how dare you? He’s such a romantic fool. So romantic back on. It’s been very hard.” “He’s very embarrassed and ashamed about his conduct,” she went on to say. “I can’t speak for him. But for me, um, yes, you know. I forgive. It’s going to take a long time to trust but you know we’ve been together for 36 years, 34 of marriage, and it’s more than half of my life.” While the two may differ on how they are approaching the reconciliation, it appears that the divorce is off.
OPTIONS OTHER THAN DIVORCE
There are three legal options for couples looking to end their marriage or domestic partnership: divorce, legal separation, and annulment.
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. In the case of the Osbournes, the length of their marriage would undoubtedly make it impossible for them to have their marriage annulled.
The Osbournes might have chosen to separate legally while they were determining next steps for their relationship. 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. This is also a great step for couples that are still deciding if they want to formally end their marriage or see if they are able to reconcile.
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.
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. Because laws vary by state you’ll want to work with an attorney when drafting this agreement. Once you have filed a legal separation, there are some next steps to take – and these might be more emotional than procedural.
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 extra-curriculars.
- 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.
MEDIATION IF YOU DECIDE TO DIVORCE
Mediation can also be a meaningful experience for couples that have decided to move forward with divorce, but that are also able to work together to come to an agreement. During mediation a couple sits down with a group of trusted advisers, including lawyers and financial advisers. For couples that are able to see eye to eye on the aspects of their marriage, this form of settlement can take less time and less money. Mediation and collaborative law are often effective choices for couples that are able to negotiate on the aspects of their marriage, including child custody and visitation, alimony, and division of marital property. These approaches provide more of a group and team-setting while the spouses sit down with a group of professionals including family law attorneys, financial advisers, and often therapists and other negotiators to come to a decision regarding the divorce agreement. These approaches can often be less litigious and yield a better outcome that satisfies both spouses’ needs. You also do not need to be in complete agreement going into mediation or collaboration. Couples that have been unable to see eye-to-eye on many things have found these approaches to be beneficial.
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.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131