September 5th, 2014

32 States Ask Supreme Court to Rule on Same-Sex Marriage

Following decisions made by several states this week, 32 states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule upon the legality of same-sex marriage.

Massachusetts filed a brief Thursday, along with fourteen states that allow gay marriage, asking the justices to overturn bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Colorado, along with sixteen states, requested justices to resolve several lawsuits in Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah. They did not push the court to rule upon the ban.

The filing followed a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Wisconsin’s and Indiana’s same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional. The decision was made by a unanimously opinioned three-judge panel, stating that the bans were “discriminatory” and “totally implausible.”

Wisconsin and Indiana had argued that allowing same-sex marriage would damage the safety of children in heterosexual marriage. In a 40-page decision, the court stated the claim is “so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”

Wisconsin and Indiana will be appealing the decision.

The brief also follows Wednesday’s decision in Louisiana upholding the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Judge Martin L.C. Feldman’s ruling is the first to support a state’s decision to bar same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court’s denial of part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. He also upheld Louisiana’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages formed in other states.

In his judgment, Feldman maintains that the laws of marriage should be determined by the individual state. He asserts the ban does not violate any fundamental rights and that Louisiana had a “legitimate interest…whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others…in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents,” as reported by the New York Times.

Next week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear arguments in same-sex marriage cases from Hawaii, Nevada and Idaho. Additionally, the Fifth Circuit Court awaits an appellate case regarding Texas’ same-sex marriage ban.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex marriage, resulting from court decisions, judicial action or election.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 27th, 2014

Neil and Pegi Young Divorce

After 36 years of marriage, Canadian rock legend Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife Pegi.

Young, 68, filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in his hometown of San Mateo, California, on July 29th.

The couple met in 1974 at a northern California diner where Pegi waitressed. “Unknown Legend,” on Young’s 1992 album “Harvest Moon,” details their earliest years when Young frequented the diner just for an opportunity to speak with Pegi.

“I used to order just to watch her float across the floor,” he sang.

The couple has two adult children, daughter Amber and son Ben, who has cerebral palsy. Ben’s illness motivated Pegi to establish the Bridge School, located in Hillsborough, California.

The school is a non-profit organization to educate children born with serious physical impairments. The couple raises funds for the school every year with a prestigious concert in Mountain View, California.

Young was previously married to the late actress Carrie Snodgress; the couple had one son, who has a less severe form of cerebral palsy, according to the Toronto Star.

Pegi Young has sung backup on Neil’s records since the 90s and has released three solo records since 2007, on which he occasionally plays guitar. Pegi has also been touring considerably this past decade. She is also known to be Young’s muse for many of his most touching love songs.

Neil Young’s career began in the mid-1960s when he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield. He joined Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in 1969 and eventually left to begin a highly acclaimed solo career. Over the past 45 years Young has released over 30 albums.

Early this year, Young released this 34th studio album, “A Letter Home.” He recently concluded a European Crazy Horse tour and will embark on an acoustic American tour in the fall, according to Rolling Stone. Pegi just finished a short American tour.

The couple was slated to play Farm Aid on September 13th, but Pegi’s name was recently taken off the show’s lineup.

A hearing has been scheduled for December 12th, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 20th, 2014

Divorce Granted For Transgender Marriage Cases

Last week, courts in both Arizona and California ruled that marriages of two transgender men were valid and that they can, in fact, divorce.

Thomas Beatie, 40, was born female and in 1997 he underwent assessment to determine his psychological gender. In 2002 he began a series of gender-reassignment surgeries and in 2005 legally changed his gender to male on his birth certificate.

When determined his wife was infertile, Beatie became pregnant through artificial insemination. Beatie appeared on numerous talk shows as “The Pregnant Man” and gave birth to his first child in 2008.

By 2011, the couple had two more children.

On August 13th, an Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the marriage between Thomas Beatie and Nancy J. Beatie was lawful and that their union may be dissolved by divorce.

The couple was married in Hawaii and was originally refused the power to divorce by a lower Arizona Court, recognizing the couple as same-sex and therefore an invalid marriage.

“The question before this Court is not whether the State of Arizona allows same-sex marriage or divorce, but whether the laws of the State of Arizona allow a marriage, lawfully entered into in another state, between two persons the foreign state formally recognized at the time of the marriage as male and female, to be dissolved,” the appellate decision said, as quoted in AZ Central News.

Arizona’s ruling followed a similar decision by the Superior Court of California. The previous week, the marriage of adult firm star Jake Miller, known as Buck Angel, and his wife Elayne, was ruled as valid. Miller was born female and modified his birth certificate years after the couple’s Louisiana marriage.

According to an article on Transgender Law Center, Elayne Angel argued that the union was invalid due to Miller’s female birth certificate status at the time of marriage. The Superior court ruled that Miller was legally male and that Louisiana law will identify the union as one between male and female.

Both couples are allowed to continue with their respective divorce proceedings.

According to USA Today, Beatie said in a statement released by his attorney, “I feel I have finally been recognized in Arizona as not just a man, but a human being.”

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 12th, 2014

Duchovny and Leoni Divorce

After a marriage spanning seventeen years, actor David Duchovny and actress Tea Leoni are officially divorcing.

Duchovny, most recently noted for his work on Showtime’s “Californication, “filed documents with New York in June, citing an “irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.” The couple settled their estate themselves, according to TMZ.

Both Duchovny and Leoni reside on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They have reportedly agreed to joint custody. Leoni will maintain primary custody over their children, Kyd Miller, 12, and Madelaine West, 15, according to the LA Times.

Duchovny, 54, will reportedly pay Leoni $40,000 in spousal support, in addition to $8,333 in child support. It is stated he will be responsible for the majority of other expenses, including summer camp, private schools and college tuition, reported People Magazine.

Duchovny and Leoni first married in 1997 and supposedly parted in 2008. In August 2008, Duchovny sought treatment for sex addiction. Two months later, representatives for both Duchovny and Leoni stated the couple had separated months previous.

At the end of October 2008, Duchovny’s lawyer announced plans to sue British tabloid, The Daily Mail, for running a story that Duchovny allegedly engaged in an affair with Hungarian tennis instructor, Edit Pakay, during his marriage to Leoni, according to TV Guide.

The couple soon reunited until June 2011, when they separated again. In a 2012 interview, Duchovny confirmed he was still married to Leoni, yet they were separated, reported the Inquirer.

Duchovny has an expansive film and television career; he is arguable best known for his work on the 90’s Sci-Fi television show, X-Files. During the show’s nine year run, Duchovny was nominated for dozens of awards and won six, including a Golden Globe in 1997.

Leoni acted in numerous movies including Deep Impact and Spanglish. She is starring in a TV series entitled Madam Secretary that will run on CBS this fall.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

March 7th, 2014

Amanda Sheppard Divorces Bryan Ferry


After being married for a bit over 2 years, Amanda Sheppard, 31, filed divorce paperwork on the grounds that Bryan Ferry, 68, has continuously unreasonable behavior.

District Judge Gibson solidified the couples’ first legal step to ending their marriage by granting them a decree nisi. Now they must wait 6 weeks and a day for the decree absolute, which is binding.

The initial divorce petition was signed on January 16th. To the question “Is the respondent’s behaviour as set out in your petition continuing?”, Sheppard marked “Yes.” It also indicated they are no longer living together.

The couple met while Sheppard was dating one of Ferry’s sons. They were married in 2011 at a resort in Turks and Caicos.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

January 24th, 2014

Divorce Finalized for Jane Lynch


Jane Lynch and her now ex-wife, Dr. Lara Embry, have finalized the divorce they filed for in July (2013).

The reason for divorce was cited as “irreconcilable differences” but the two remain amicable.

Embry’s request for spousal support in the sum of $93,000 a month was denied and the exact number has not been made public.

Lynch purchased the house and is keeping it.

Lynch and Embry were married in 2010.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

December 13th, 2013

Utah Divorce Class Proposal


For parents going through a divorce, Utah currently has a state mandated, in-person, divorce orientation course.

The belief of many is that when someone files for divorce, divorce is inevitable. The belief of some is that there is hope to salvage some marriages.

Alan Hawkins, a Brigham Young University professor, teaches the state mandated class in Utah and believes that 10-20% of marriages which result in divorce petitions have a “reasonable possibility of repairing the relationship and being able to preserve family stability.”

The Utah Legislature is currently looking at a proposal that would move up the required divorce orientation course in the divorce process, placing it before the actual filing of the petition.

This proposal is getting a lot of negative feedback and many issues are coming to light that need to be considered.

The biggest issue is the issue of open courts in which the Constitution says out right that everyone is entitled to the courts.

An exception to this process is being proposed for victims of domestic violence. A court or police order, or other evidence of domestic violence, will waive the required course.

This is the third time Rep. Jim Nielson is trying to advance this legislation.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

November 22nd, 2013

Rupert and Wendi Murdoch Finalize Their Historic Divorce Settlement


In a surprisingly friendly court appearance this week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his longtime wife, Wendi, finalized their mutual divorce settlement, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

In a joint statement released shortly after their court hearing, Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch, who was the billionaire’s third wife, said they were “pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce.”

“We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further,” concluded the former couple’s statement.

The couple finalized their divorce during a hearing this week in Manhattan in a New York state court. During the hearing, the couple told the judge a trial would not be necessary and that they wanted the judge to simply confirm a settlement they reached together.

Celebrities often prefer to settle a divorce case out of court, because private settlements do not become publicly available, whereas the details of a divorce trial would have likely created a publicity frenzy.

The divorce settlement, however, is not expected to damage Rupert Murdoch’s remarkable media empire. Sources say the 82-year-old mogul will continue to hold his biggest media holdings, News Corp. and 21st Century Fox.

Wendi Murdoch, though, will reportedly receive the couple’s pricey Manhattan apartment, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash.

The couple’s relatively amicable divorce hearing took place while the couple was reportedly sitting together at a small table in the Manhattan courtroom. And the hearing only took about 15 minutes, according to reports.

During the hearing, which progressed like most other cases, the judge read off a series of simple questions, asked the parties if they had reached a settlement, and then gave the deal her stamp of approval.

The judge also praised the couple for behaving so “amicably” during the process, and the hearing reportedly ended with the 44-year-old wife kissing her former husband on the cheek.

The hearing ends a fourteen-year marriage for the power couple. The Murdochs were reportedly married in New York Harbor on Rupert Murdoch’s yacht, which is reportedly up for sale.

Sources say Ruport Murdoch married his third wife just a few weeks after finalizing his divorce with his second wife, Anna Tory, who is the mother of his three adult children. Rupert and Wendi also had two young daughters together.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

November 15th, 2013

Pope Francis Requests Survey on Views Towards Divorce in America


In a move that could signal a drastic change in the Catholic Church’s views towards divorce, Pope Francis asked his American bishops to conduct extensive polling of divorced members of the church, according to a report this week from CBS News.

Divorce has been a constant source of stress for the Catholic Church in recent decades, which has alienated many Catholics, and Pope Francis has made it known that he wants the Church to be more welcoming to all members, sources report.

And the Pope’s request for a comprehensive survey of Americans’ views on issues like divorce, same-sex marriage, and contraception, is an unprecedented move from the Vatican, according to experts on the religion.

“I think it’s definitely recognition that the teachings of the Church on these particular hot button topics are not being received as the Vatican would like them to be received,” said Father Martin, a Catholic expert.

American bishops were reportedly told to gather responses to a 38-question survey over the next three months. The responses will be mailed to the Vatican so Catholic authorities can review the information before holding a major summit on Catholic family life.

Church clergy, however, were quick to tell sources that the survey request does not necessarily signal an upcoming change in Church doctrine on these social issues.

But others believe the survey is a step towards potential changes in Church doctrine, or at the very least, a step towards discerning what Catholics actually practice in their everyday lives.

The survey reportedly asks questions like: “What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacrament,” and, “Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same sex and equating it in some way to marriage.”

In recent weeks, Pope Francis made waves by saying that the Church should reduce its single-minded focus on issues like contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, and instead focus on making people more comfortable with the Church.

Catholic teachings, however, leave little room for interpretation on these matters. For centuries, contraception has been considered a sin, and Church member who successfully divorce lawyer are not allowed to remarry in a Catholic Church.

And while the survey may not lead to dramatic shifts in Church policy, it at least signals that the Church is not a totalitarian regime, and respects the views of non-clergy.

In the words of Father Martin, the “great saints and martyrs were often not popes and bishops, they were lay people and they were people who were mothers and fathers and lawyers and doctors.”

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

November 8th, 2013

Texas Supreme Court Starts to Hear Cases Involving Same Sex Divorce


The Texas Supreme Court has started to hear cases that could determine the fate of same-sex couples looking to get a divorce in the Lone Star State, according to a report from the Dallas Morning News.

Sources say the complication arises from the state’s ban on gay marriage, which remains in effect in Texas and states that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

Several gay couples, however, have married in other states, and then moved to Texas. So the issue is whether these couples will be able to obtain a divorce in their adopted state.

And the issue was confused in recent years after two appellate courts reached contradictory conclusions, sending the complicated issue to the state’s highest court for resolution this week.

According to reports, in 2010, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state’s attorney general had no jurisdiction in its case, and allowed a lesbian couple to divorce. The Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas, however, stated that a gay couple in Dallas could not legally file for divorce under Texas law.

According to James Scheske, the divorce attorney representing the same-sex couples in the Texas Supreme Court, the cases are about “divorce and equality. He also says the contrary Dallas ruling “forecloses my client’s constitutional right to petition for divorce in his state of residency and thereby violates his rights under the 14th Amendment.”

Also, Sheske noted in a recent court hearing that if the state’s attorney general, who is arguing against the same-sex couples, prevails, the lesbian couple in Austin will be forced to remarry four years after their divorce.

But the same-sex couples have received strong opposition from the state. Sources say Deputy Attorney General James Blacklock argued in court that all same-sex marriages are void and unenforceable in Texas, regardless of the state of their origin.

“Texas law does not recognize those marriages,” said Blackock in court this week. “It is void for all purposes in Texas.”

The issue of same-sex divorce is rapidly becoming a topic of national conversation, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented same-sex couples who married in other states from receiving federal benefits.

Each state still has the right to define marriage as it sees fit, but states that do legalize gay marriage effectively have the support of the federal government after the recent Supreme Court decision.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.