9 Shock Celeb Splits of 2015


Simpson Millar have taken a look at 9 of the most ‘shocking’ break ups of the last 12 months and have decided to provide a little insight into what might happen now the couples have decided to go their own way.

Famous couple

Jenine Abdo, Family Solicitor, based in our Cardiff office is a lawyer by day but a lover of all things celebrity by night. Therefore when news breaks about celebrity couples unfortunately splitting up, Jenine loves how her working world can be reflected in that in the world of the rich and famous.

Jenine states that although for us everyday people, this is run of the mill media gossip which we read during our lunch break on social media sites or read in a magazine/newspaper when we all want to wind down in the evening. However for these A-listers we must remember that they are human. Divorce, especially when it involves children, can be a horrific, traumatic and emotional experience and I can imagine even more intense when a heart break is played out in the public eye especially as divorce is an experience likened to bereavement.

1. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has filed for divorce from her husband Jean Bernard after 16th months of marriage. There have been numerous articles and comments made by my legal peers in popular papers about the second divorce of the nation’s favourite sweetheart, stating that Cheryl should have entered into a pre-nupt. Now a pre-nuptial agreement is a written contract between two people who are about to marry, setting out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage is later dissolved. These agreements are fairly common if either or both parties have substantial assets, children from a prior marriage, potential inheritances, high incomes, or have been "taken" by a prior spouse. However, we must remember that even if you do meet the criteria and want to enter into an agreement, in England and Wales, a pre-nupt may only act as a precedent or for guidance. It is yet to be legally binding like it currently is in various US states. At present a prenuptial agreement does not carry the same weight as a Court order and will not ‘automatically’ be upheld or enforced by an English or Welsh court in the event of a divorce and/or disagreement.

2.Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner ended their 10 year marriage. Rumours circulated that Affleck had cheated with the nanny but this has never been confirmed.

Sadly this is not the first story where a person has had an affair with a nanny in the celeb world. This also unfortunately occurs within marriages where people may engage in affairs which most commonly and stereotypically occur in a work place. Under England and Welsh Law, Jennifer would have two grounds to rely on based on the information provided should she wish to divorce the worlds new Batman, Ben. There are five grounds to divorce and in no particular order:

  1. 2 years Separation with consent.
  2. 5 years separation (no consent is needed as such).
  3. Desertion - Your husband or wife has left you, without your agreement, without a good reason, to end your relationship.

However the two applicable to Jennifer would be either one of the following potentially.

  1. Adultery.
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour - your husband or wife behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them.

3. Nanny cheating rumours also surrounded the Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale divorce, after almost 13 years of marriage. Poor Gwen... Rumour has it that Gavin was another who decided to have an affair with the children’s Nanny (one who apparently looks a lot like Gwen too). From a legal point of view, Gwen is able to file a petition for divorce on the same grounds as Jennifer Garner. However should Gavin wish to start a new life with his new love (if true) it must be noted that he could seek a divorce against Gwen. The grounds he would rely on would be dependable on when he would want to pursue a divorce. However if they have split up and he would like to petition for a divorce, even if the affair is publically attributed to the marriage breakdown, we must as Lawyers be mindful that there are two sides to every story (well I usually say three sides - one side, the other…and the truth is what I tell my clients!) and as Solicitors neither should we judge. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors and if Gavin wanted to rely on the ground of unreasonable behaviour, he would have to use examples about how and why he felt the marriage came to an end. So the alleged affair may have been the final nail in their marriage coffin – who knows!

4. After 11 years of marriage Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green called it quits blaming their work loads. ‘Marriage is hard – you must work at it every day because you both grow up and change. You must make time for you as individuals and also together as a team/family’ is something my parents who have been married for 45 years regularly tell me and I in turn tell my partner. However in this day and age there are various stresses and most commonly is that of work. Each couple, relationship and marriage is completely different. However if you do find the stresses of work making an impact upon your life, before seeking a divorce you may want to seek some marriage counselling to help aid and assist your marriage. Mediation services and Relate are commonly used. Megan and Brian may have sought help before calling it a day on their marriage; however if they haven’t, then they may want to look down these types of services which I am sure are available in the US as they are in England and Wales.

5. It took a judge just 60 seconds to grant Lara Stone and David Walliams a Decree Nisi, ending their 5 year marriage. The Decree Nisi was given based on the grounds of continuing unreasonable behaviour by the model.

Decree Nisi is an order of the Court confirming that the grounds for the divorce have been proved and that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. It does not, however, mean that the Petitioner and the Respondent are actually divorced, which comes only with Decree Absolute, so you could still not remarry at this point. The Decree Nisi is actually read out by a Judge in Court as part of the divorce procedure, but there is no need to attend Court for that purpose and the Decree Nisi order will eventually just be sent through the post to your Solicitor and then sent on to you. There would usually only be personal attendance by either party if there was a dispute about costs. This is very rare and you would be told if it was relevant to you. There is a six week period before the Petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute. Parties are always encouraged to sort and settle any matrimonial finances they have (or seek a clean break order if applicable) before obtaining a Decree Absolute.

6. After 9 years together, and 3 children Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick separated in 2015. It is rumoured that a nasty custody battle will ensue with Kourtney wanting full custody of Mason, 5, Penelope, 3 and Reign, 4 months. As a fan of the Kardashians, I was shocked to read about a couple in the world’s most famous family (bar the Royals of course) separating! In England and Wales, it is clear to note, that there is no such thing as custody. A parent would have to pursue a Child Arrangement Order application to solve this Private Children’s dispute. It is referred to as a private dispute as it is a private matter between parents. The Child Arrangement Order would deem where the children reside and whom the children would have contact with and the frequency in short.

7. Reportedly Ryan Sweeting is seeking spousal support from Kaley Cuoco following on from the 'Big Bang' star filing for divorce ending their 21 months of marriage. Spousal maintenance is an amount, awarded by the Courts to be paid by the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income when a couple divorce. It is only awarded if one party cannot support themselves without payments from the other. It can be awarded for a specified term or for life in some cases. The recipient will lose their right to receive the maintenance if they re-marry, however it does not end if they simply cohabit. On occasions, the amount that has been awarded can be varied some years later by way of Court Order, if the circumstances warrant it. In the law governing spousal maintenance in England and Wales, should Ryan wish to pursue an application he would have to prove that he would be unable to support himself... However as a famous and high earning tennis player, the chances may be slim!

8. Things turned nasty when Rosie O’Donnell divorced Michelle Rounds following 2 years of marriage. It took nearly 8 months for the couple to be awarded joint custody of their adopted daughter Dakota. When it comes to children, it does not matter whether the parents are married, not married or in a civil partnership. If the parents have parental responsibility, the same principles apply as discussed when looking at Kourtney and Scott. If a parent does not have parental responsibility, then your Solicitor can guide you to the various ways you can obtain this.

9. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy split after 40 years of dating. Despite being together since the 80s personally, I was devastated to learn about Kermit and Miss Piggy splitting up which I am sure is echoed by various generations across the world! When it comes to co-habitation, there has been many occasions that I have to break the news to a client that there is no such thing as a common law spouse; which usually and sadly results in some devastated clients, as they have always believed this myth which in turn makes them believe that they have a right to their ex’s assets. As a Solicitor who sits on the Family Law Parliamentary group and a committee member of Resolution Cardiff, I am planning on raising this topic in future discussions as society has moved on greatly and more and more are co-habiting instead of legally formalising their relationship. As the law as it stands is only able to help married parties giving limited protection to those who are co-habiting. Kermit and Miss Piggy will have a difficult journey sorting out their accumulated assets and liabilities however there are various legal provisions available a Solicitor can guide you to.

You see anyone and everyone can be affected by divorce/separation and have children issues. Please do not hesitate to contact myself based in the Cardiff office or any team member at Simpson Millar to help assist and guide you throughout your personal ‘story’.

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