Two weeks after filing for legal separation from her husband actor Ryan Phillippe, actress Reese Witherspoon is filing for divorce. In her divorce papers, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week, Witherspoon cited irreconcilable differences as her reason for filing. She is asking for sole physical custody of her children and requesting that Phillippe be granted visitation rights. Witherspoon requested that Phillippe’s ability to receive spousal support be terminated. It is believed that Witherspoon and Philippe did not sign a prenuptial agreement before they were married.
California is a community property state, which means that when a couple gets divorced, each spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the net value of their community property-defined as any asset acquired or income earned by either person while married. Currently, Witherspoon makes over $20 million a movie, while Phillippe earns over $2 million a picture.
When a couple divorces or legally separates, the court can order one spouse to pay spousal support to the other spouse every month.
A judge takes into consideration the following factors when determining what spousal support to order:
· How long the couple have been married.
· The age and health of each spouse.
· How much income each can earn on their own.
· What the expenses of each spouse are.
· Whether there are minor children at home.
· The history of the way the couple handled money during the marriage.
While the case is going on, a court can order a temporary support order. Each county has different guidelines for this. However, the judge will not use a formula to figure out how much spousal or partner support to order at the end of your case (called the “final judgment”).
When the judge makes his or her final order, the judge must consider the factors in California Family Code section 4320. These factors are:
· The length of the marriage or domestic partnership.
· What each person needs.
· What each person pays or can pay (including earnings and earning capacity).
· Whether having a job would make it too hard to take care of the child(ren).
· The age and health of both people.
· Debts and property.
· Whether 1 spouse or domestic partner helped the other get an education, training, career, or professional license.
· Whether there was domestic violence in the marriage or domestic partnership.
· Whether 1 spouse’s, or domestic partner’s, career was affected by unemployment or by taking care of the children or home.
· The tax impact of spousal support (note: federal and state tax laws were not changed to recognize domestic partnerships) .
If you are in the middle of a divorce or legal separation and you live in Alameda County, Monterey County, or Santa Clara County, and you would like to speak with an attorney, contact Sagaria Law P.C. for a free consultation, email us, call us at 1-800-941-6730, or visit one of our offices in San Jose, Fremont, or Monterey.
Reese Witherspoon Files For Divorce, Mercurynews.com/AP, November 8, 2006
Reese Witherspoon Expected To Split Earnings In Divorce From Ryan, All Headline News, November 2, 2006
California Community Property FAQ’s, Divorce.net
Child, Partner, and Spousal Support Q and A, California Courts Self-Help Center
Related Web Resources:
Property And Debt Division, Nolo.com
California Property Division Factors, Divorce Support.com