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The appellate court in In re Marriage of Priem (Civ. No. A130791; Ct. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1. 3/13/13)– Cal. App. 4th –, 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 193By Dondero, J. (Margulies, Acting P. J., Banke, J., concurring) held that a plea of nolo contendere to a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence, made within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution proceeding, may be used as the basis for presumptively denying temporary spousal support under Family Code §4325.
The facts of the case were that The parties were married in 1999 and had two children. In 2010, wife (Veronica) petitioned for dissolution. The trial court ordered husband (Curtis) to pay Veronica $10,000 per month in unallocated temporary support, as well as $20,000 for mediation and other professional fees. Curtis filed a responsive declaration to an order to show cause, alleging a 10-year history of Veronica’s erratic and abusive behavior, including several incidents of domestic violence.
Curtis agreed to pay guideline child support but requested relief from paying temporary spousal support, based on Veronica’s 2008 misdemeanor conviction for battery committed against a spouse [Pen. Code § 243(e)(1)]. Curtis also detailed an extensive history of domestic abuse, which included three criminal convictions, three criminal protective orders, and one civil temporary protective order.
After a hearing on the issue of temporary spousal support and attorney’s fees, the court ordered Curtis to pay Veronica $14,602 in monthly child support and denied Veronica’s request for spousal support, finding that her 2008 conviction for domestic violence created a rebuttable presumption that an award of spousal support would be inappropriate [see Fam. Code § 4325] and that Veronica failed to rebut the presumption…
What Can We Learn from This Case?
Courts are not going to award a domestic violence perpetrator with a technicality of pleading nolo contendere over the public policy that a domestic violence offender is going to be awarded by having his or her victim pay them support.
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The Huffington Post recently ran an article about Camille Grammar and Ex-Spouse Kelsey Grammar. The article stated that the parties do not speak, even though they have 2 children from their marriage. The parties separated when Camille was starring on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
What is more interesting is that Huffington Post stated that 37 other Bravo Housewives “have called it quits with their husbands.” Other popular reality television starts that have divorced include: Jon and Kate Gosselin with 8 children, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey and Hulk Hogan and Wife Linda.
What Does This Tell Us
I have been a divorce lawyer for over 17 years. It has been my experience that relationships work or don’t work because of communication. Relationships are delicate, most of the time they cannot withstand intense scrutiny.
The television cameras and spotlight of the stars’ relationships puts too much intensity on something that is supposed to be private. Movie stars want their privacy especially with their significant others, because they know that the more their relationship is public and played out before the cameras it is not going to work. Relationships like other living things need nurturing and calm; something that it is lacking in Reality TV.
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The Los Angeles Times reported on November 14, 2012 that 10 Los Angeles County courthouses will be closed. These courthouses include the Beverly Hills courthouse, West Los Angeles, Malibu and other locations. Closures are expected to occur within the next 8 months.
The Times reports that the criminal and civil cases from those locations will be reassigned to courts that can be from anywhere from 7 to 35 miles away from the courts that the closed making commutes for jurors, witnesses litigants and law enforcement officials much longer.
The court closures are result of attempting to close a shortfall of $50-$80 million from the court budget.
The Times also reported in the last fiscal year, “the court system shaved 70 million from its budget in part by freezing wages and forcing staff members to take furlough days.”
As a Family Law attorney I have seen that the caseloads the judicial officers carry are much larger than in the past years and that court dates that are given for typical support, or child custody matters are further out in the future than in the past. It is unfortunate that courthouses such as Pomona Beverly Hills, and others will be closing as it will only put more pressure on the existing courthouses that are open.