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.

November 1st, 2013

Estranged Wife of Actor Clint Eastwood Reportedly Files for Divorce


The estranged wife of famous actor Clint Eastwood is reportedly filing for divorce after 17 years of marriage, according to a report this week from CNN.

Sources say Eastwood’s wife, Dina Eastwood, is expected to ask for full child custody (the couple has one young daughter) in her divorce papers.

It’s too early to tell whether Dina will be able to gain full custody of the couple’s, but in many states, courts tend to err on the side of granting legal custody to both parents.

This, of course, might still allow for Dina to keep the child, but even if she does have physical custody, it’s likely that her husband will be able to have a say in all important decisions related to the child’s care.

According to reports, Clint Eastwood’s 48-year-old-wife, a former television news anchor, claimed in her divorce petition that the couple suffers from “irreconcilable differences.” The divorce petition was reportedly filed in Monterey County, California, where the couple resides.

Interestingly, Dina Eastwood filed separation papers in October, but withdrew them a few days later after deciding to change her legal strategy. In a recent interview with Us Weekly, Dina Eastwood said she and her husband remain close, but the two have been living apart “for some time.”

Clint Eastwood became famous at a relatively young age, and has continued to star in and direct major films. He gained even more fame in 2012 when he spoke at the Republican National Convention and memorably spoke to an empty chair.

The divorcing couple reportedly married in March of 1996, and their daughter, who is now 16, was born that December.

Dina Eastwood and her daughter, Morgan, were featured with the actor’s other daughter, Francesca, on a recent reality television show, “Mrs. Eastwood and Company.”

Sources also note that Clint Eastwood has one previous wife, Maggie Johnson, and has had eight children with six different women.

And while the couple certainly has a lot of money to divide between the two of them, the distribution of marital assets is likely covered by a prenuptial agreement, which is common in marriages between wealthy celebrities.

Of course, if they don’t have a prenuptial agreement, things could get messy. It’s more likely, however, that the two will argue over who is granted physical custody of their daughter, although Dina Eastwood has reportedly offered to share legal custody with her soon-to-be former husband.

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

October 25th, 2013

Harvard Study Finds That Divorce Filings Could be Contagious


A Harvard study recently discovered that having a friend who recently filed for divorce could make you more likely to seek a separation from your spouse, according to an intriguing report from The Atlantic.


According to sources, researchers at Harvard, Brown, and UC-San Diego recently released the results of a long-term study that found people with friends who obtain a divorce are 75 percent more likely to seek a divorce.

And the trend seems to extend beyond close friends, too. According to the report, having an acquaintance go through a divorce increases your risk of divorce by 33 percent.

Due to these alarming results, the head researcher, Rose McDermott, writes that the divorce may “spread between friends.” She also observed that “[c]lusters of divorce extend to two degrees of separation in the network.”

The researchers discovered what they called “network contagion,” or the effect that the divorce of a close personal friend can have on one’s own relationship. Sources note that network contagion has also been found to play a role in people’s weight and the number of children they choose to have.

In addition, past studies have discovered that children from divorced parents are more likely to call a divorce lawyerchildren with parents who stick together.

This study, however, represents the first effort to gauge how a person’s social network influences his or her romantic relationships. And, remarkably, the influence not only extends to friends of a divorced couple, but also friends of those friends, with little regard for geographic distance.

The researchers hope their findings will help divorce professionals aid couples in reducing the negative effects of divorce. They also expressed hope that the findings would help strengthen the relationships of struggling couples.

According to McDermott, the researchers “suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship.”

Of course, the study has been met with some criticism. Sources are quick to note that the researchers based their data on a survey of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts.

And despite the fact that this survey has been described by the Pew Research Center as “one of the country’s longest-running and most influential longitudinal surveys,” the surveyed group is more white, educated, and health than the median American.

As a result, the results may only apply to a certain subset of the American population. And while the social networking effects of divorce may certainly have a similar effect on other people, the data remains somewhat unclear.

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

October 17th, 2013

Five Mistakes People Seeking Divorce Should Try to Avoid


Divorce can be a trying time, especially for couples who choose to go it alone, so it may help potential divorcees to consider a few key mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce.

Of course, in order to help avoid some of these mistakes, many people choose to hire a divorce lawyer to help guide them through the difficult process.


A recent report from the Huffington Post suggests that people filing for divorce should avoid five common mistakes while going through the separation process.

First, the report says couples should meet with a financial planner before going through divorce mediation. Sources say many people fight, for example, to keep their homes, when they can’t afford the homes in the first place.

It’s much wiser to approach mediation, or any divorce negotiation, with a clear idea of the assets you can afford to keep after reaching a divorce agreement. Make sure what you’re fighting to keep is actually worth keeping in the first place.

Second, people preparing for a divorce should get organized before they tell their spouse the news. This doesn’t mean you have to be dishonest, it simply means that you should prepare for the pending financial stress.

To this end, before you inform your spouse of your decision, sources suggest making a detailed inventory of your financial records, credit history, and future job prospects. Planning before a divorce is just as important as the separation process itself.

Third, sources recommend creating a support network early in the divorce process. Filing for divorce may be a very wise decision for many people, but it can also be emotionally trying.

So your best bet is to consult the aid of a therapist, or share your burden with friends or family, well before you begin to experience emotional trauma. Emotional health, just like financial health, is best protected by taking preventative measures.

Fourth, sources advise couples to not file for divorce in the heat of the moment. Some couples may simply be experiencing a difficult time, and would be best advised to take a few weeks to honestly assess the state of their marriage.

Of course, many couples may quickly come to the conclusion that divorce is their best option. Still, it’s important to catalog the specific reasons why you want a divorce, so you’re not making a poor decision.

Finally, sources recommend sticking with your job and not reducing your hours. Judges frown on this behavior, especially when it appears that one spouse is trying to secure more alimony from the other.

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

October 10th, 2013

Affordable Care Act Could Lead to Increase in Divorce Filings


The Affordable Care Act, also known by the more loaded term “Obamacare,” may expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, but could also have some unintended consequences.

One of these potential consequences is that the rate of people filing for divorce could rise, thanks to the financial freedom potentially afforded by broader access to health coverage, according to a report from the Washington Times.

According to sources, fear of losing health insurance is one of the primary reasons couples choose to stick together and refrain from filing a divorce.

And this fear of losing health insurance is supported by a recent finding by the University of Michigan that, every year, roughly 115,000 women lose their health insurance after reaching a divorce settlement.

The Michigan study also discovered that 25 percent of divorce women who lose coverage through their former spouse’s insurance fail to find new health insurance for at least six months after completing their divorce.

Even though the workforce continues to grow more diverse, many women still do not have employment outside the home, or work for companies that do not provide health coverage. In addition, the cost of getting COBRA coverage through a former spouse’s plan can be incredible expensive.

The problem is particularly acute for middle-income women eyeing a divorce. Low-income women are often able to turn to Medicaid, and wealthy women can simply afford their own coverage. And older women tend to have an even more difficult time securing insurance after divorce.

But this calculation could soon change, if the Affordable Care Act is as successful at broadening access to health care as it promises. And if it indeed expands access to health care, many couples who have decided to stick together for health insurance reasons could decide to finally split, sources say.

When the law kicks into gear on January 1, 2014, women mulling a divorce can enter the healthcare exchange to determine if they’ll be able to find affordable health insurance. If so, many couples may decide to go their separate ways.

Of course, while the new law could help many struggling couples, it could also create complications for filers and their divorce attorneys.

Sources believe the government’s health care plans could leads to lower alimony settlements, and could also lead to arguments about the quality of plan the spouse paying alimony can afford. But the law also offers much promise for couples who have stayed together out of financial necessity.

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

October 3rd, 2013

Man Upset With Divorce Allegedly Injects Young Son With Heroin


A man in Washington state who was reportedly distraught over his pending divorce allegedly tried to kill his 4-year-old son by giving him a dose of heroin, according to a shocking report from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Sources say the man going through a divorce, 37-year-old Eric Lehtinen, was discovered by his estranged wife on a bed in a locked Redmond, Washington, house with his young son. Both the man and his son were reportedly unconscious.

After making the startling discovery, the mother reportedly removed a blanket from her son and found a syringe filled with what looked like drugs on his chest, according to documents filed with the local court.

When emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, both the boy and the father were non-responsive. The boy was immediately taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he is currently seeking treatment. Sources do not know if he will suffer long-term damage from the incident.

Shockingly, medical staff at the children’s hospital reported finding puncture wounds on several parts of the boy’s body.

And blood tests revealed traces of ketamine, morphine, and codeine in his system, in addition to heroin.

Sources say Lehtinen is already out of the hospital, but is sitting in jail after being charged with attempted murder in the first degree. His bail was set at an appropriately lofty $3 million after prosecutors argued that he was extremely dangerous.

In their words, a man “who is willing to inject his 4-year-old son with heroin in an attempt to kill” his own son is “dangerous man willing to do anything.” The judge didn’t disagree with this assessment.

Ten days before the child was overdosed with a cocktail of dangerous drugs, he was reportedly living with his mother in San Francisco. The mother and her husband had been married for six years, but she had filed for divorce months before.

According to reports, one of the reasons the woman filed for divorce was her husband’s drug addiction, which included abuse of heroin.

But her husband claimed that he was clean, so the mother let her son stay with Lehtinen while she visited Seattle for a job interview.

Lehtinen, however, was distraught over the pending divorce, and court documents say that the father poisoned his son in a terribly misguided effort to delay the end of his marriage.

But, if anything, Lehtinen sealed the end of his marriage, and possibly the end of his relationship with his child. If he is found guilty of attempted murder, the father could be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison, sources say.

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

September 30th, 2013

Richard Gere and Estranged Wife Reportedly Headed Towards Divorce


After 11 years of marriage and 18 years together, Richard Gere and his wife, model-turned-actress Carey Lowell, are reportedly looking to hire divorce attorneys, according to a report this week from the Los Angeles Times.

In an interview last year with Yahoo Movies, Lowell claimed that she first had a crush on Gere when she saw his 1982 movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” She claims this caused a heated argument with her boyfriend at the time.

But sources say the couple’s marriage has grown rocky, thanks in part to their different personalities. Friends of Lowell say she enjoys socializing frequently, while Gere prefers to live a more private lifestyle.

According to one friend quote in the New York Post, the couple has a home in Bedford, New York, where Gere prefers to stay “because it’s quiet and he likes the solitude,” while Lowell would rather be in their home in “North Haven in the limelight.”

A source close to the celebrity couple claims the 64-year-old actor and his 52-year-old wife have been separated for several months, although a photograph of the couple together at the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills in January seems to dispute this notion.

Of course, if the couple simply cooperated for the cameras in an effort to keep their personal lives out of the tabloids, it certainly wouldn’t have been the first such instance of Hollywood restraint.

If the husband and wife do eventually decided to get a divorce, it will be the second such filing for Gere, who was famously married to supermodel Cindy Crawford during the prime of both their careers. In addition, this would be the third divorce for Lowell, sources say.

The speculation about their divorce, however, remains simply guesswork, as the couple has not made any official announcement about their intentions to divorce.

Since divorce records are made public if a couple disputes their case in court, many celebrity married couples prefer to settle their marital differences behind closed doors with a mediator or simply negotiate and reach a settlement with the other side’s attorneys.

These alternative forms of divorce are becoming more popular with non-celebrities, as well, since mediation or settlement talks are often less costly and emotionally charged than a prolonged court battle.

The couple, however, may have a bit of trouble settling their divorce among themselves because they have a 13-year-old son, Homer, who sources say was named after Gere’s father.

The presence of a child doesn’t mean the couple won’t be able to settle the matter out of court, but it certainly makes their divorce process that much more complicated.

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

September 18th, 2013

Costly Divorce Forces Best Buy CEO to Sell Millions Worth of Stock


A pending divorce has forced Best Buy CEO Hubery Joly to sell more than $10 million worth of stock in his company to cover the cost of divorce, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Typically, this sort of information wouldn’t be available to the public, as most public figures prefer to settle their divorces out of court in order to keep their personal information private.

This is why many famous celebrities turn to divorce mediation to settle their disputes behind closed doors, rather than in open court in front of the public eye.

But Joly is in a unique position because, thanks to the terms of his employment agreement, he had to report the sale of $10.4 million in Best Buy stock to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), which monitors the sale of stock by corporate officials.

This week, company spokesman Matt Furman took a page out of the public relations textbook and tried to get ahead of the news by formally announcing the sale of a significant amount of Joly’s stock in the company in a press conference.

“This sale reflects only one thing: Mr. Joly has recently gone through a divorce and needs to sell a portion of his holdings in order to cover the costs of that unfortunate event. He remains heavily invested in Best Buy,” said Joly.

Interestingly, Joly had to receive a special waiver from Best Buy’s board of directors to make the sale because his employment contract prevents him from making such a large sale of stock without the board’s permission.

And when the company filed its report with the SEC giving notice of the unique sale, it made a point to say that “all other terms” of the employment agreement “remain unchanged and in full force and effect.”

In recent years, companies have made stock options larger portions of executive salaries, in an effort to tie the performance of executives to their compensation. But Joly’s costly divorce threw a wrench into this practice, at least with respect to the Best Buy CEO.

Sources say Joly sold 100,686 shares of Best Buy worth nearly $4 million, and also exercised 350,467 stock options that were worth roughly $6.5 million.

According to reports, Joly, who filed for divorce in his native country of France, still owns enough shares of Best Buy to meet the company’s stock ownership guidelines for its corporate executives.

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

September 13th, 2013

Wife of George Zimmerman Seeks Divorce After Six Years of Marriage


The wife of media legend George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder after the shooting death of young Trayvon Martin, is filing for divorce from her controversial husband, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Sources say 26-year-old Shellie Zimmerman and her husband separated on August 13, and she admitted in a recent television interview that her husband had not spent much time at home since he was acquitted in July.

During her interview with “Good Morning America” on ABC, Shellie Zimmerman said that her husband is “selfish” and that she thinks “George is all about George.” She also claimed that he was verbally abusive towards her and that the embarrassing trial had “ruined her life.”

Shellie Zimmerman also lamented her seemingly unrewarded tenure as her husband’s loyal partner during his prolonged legal drama. In her interview, she told ABC, “I have supported him for so long, and neglected myself for too long, and I feel like I’m finally starting to feel empowered again.”

In addition, Shellie Zimmerman said that her husband had been making “some reckless decisions” since a Florida jury acquitted him in the murder of Trayvon Martin, whom George Zimmerman purportedly killed while acting in self-defense.

Sources say George Zimmerman has been pulled over for speeding on two occasions since his arrest. During one of the stops, Zimmerman bragged to a police officer that he had a concealed weapon in his truck. Both times, he was let off with a warning, sources say.

In addition, George Zimmerman was reportedly involved in a domestic dispute involving a gun this week, but his wife apparently is not going to press criminal charges, sources report.

But a 911 call from the recent incident claims that George Zimmerman punched his wife’s father in the nose, and threatened to shoot him, and Zimmerman is reportedly being held in detention by police in Lake Mary, Florida.

Of course, these incidents might prove extra fodder for Shellie Zimmerman during the divorce process, which will likely be a very public affair, despite her wishes.

But the divorce could be a relatively simple affair, as the couple reportedly has no children. Shellie Zimmerman, however, is asking the court for sole possession of Oso and Leroy, their two dogs.

And while the absence of children could make the divorce process a bit simpler, couples in the past have engaged in heated fights over the custody of pets. So if George Zimmerman is intent on having access to their dogs, this could raise an issue in the divorce proceedings.

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