Tag Archives: divorce law

Appellate Court Rules Mel Gibson’s Ex-Wife Violated Confidentiality Agreement

by | 5:58 pm, August 12th, 2016

On Tuesday, California’s 2nd Appellate District ruled (PDF) on a celebrity case that had been out of the public eye for a while:Mel Gibson’s disputes with his ex-wife, Oksana Grigorieva. The case is technically titled ““M.G. v. O.G.,” but the numerous details in the order make it perfectly clear who’s involved. The court affirmed a previous ruling in Gibson’s favor to the effect that that Grigorieva violated the terms of an out of court settlement between the two by addressing her domestic abuse allegations against Gibson.


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You may recall that in 2010, Grigorieva recorded her phone conversations with a disturbingly unhinged Gibson, including one (embedded above) where he threatened to kill her, saying “I’ll put you in a f—ing rose garden you c–t! You understand that? Because I’m capable of it. You understand that?” If he had much of a career left, that changed. Grigorieva sued Gibson in separate cases (one for paternity of their child, one for battery and defamation), and according to the appellate ruling, here’s how those were resolved:

At the same time, the parties entered into a separate settlement agreement to resolve O.G.’s civil claims, pursuant to which M.G. agreed to pay O.G. a total of $750,000 in three equal installments spread over the course of five years. As part of the settlement agreement, O.G. agreed to keep confidential “any and all information and facts related to the asserted claims and events underlying this Agreement.” The agreement specified that a breach of the confidentiality obligation would result in O.G.’s forfeiture of all outstanding installments of the $750,000 settlement payment.

From there, nothing really happened until Grigorieva appeared on The Howard Stern Show on May 21, 2013:

Howard Stern – Oksana Grigorieva – 5/21/13 by MrBenjyBronk

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While Grigorieva never outright said in the interview that Gibson physically abused her, in the context of the interview, it’s clear that she’s giving credence to Stern’s statements about Gibson hitting her. That’s where Gibson objected, and that’s why the appellate court agreed with Gibson. From the ruling:

Full Article – http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/appellate-court-rules-mel-gibsons-ex-wife-violated-confidentiality-agreement/

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Getting a divorce can be difficult depending on whether your case is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all the issues and is the simplest way to obtain a divorce in America. A contested divorce usually involves high levels of conflict because the parties may be in disagreement as to division of assets, child custody, child support, and at times, one party may not want a divorce at all. Contact us for a free consultation and we will help evaluate your divorce.


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If you are considering a divorce or if you and your spouse have already decided to end your marriage, gaining a full understanding of this legal process and the many issues that need to be addressed is of the utmost importance.


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Va. Supreme Court rules same-sex couples equal in divorce law

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that a Fairfax County man can stop paying spousal support to his ex-wife because she lives with another woman, reversing lower courts that found the state’s cohabitation standard does not apply to same-sex couples.

The ruling, handed down late last week, clarifies a section of Virginia divorce law nearly a year after same-sex marriage became legal nationwide.

The case stemmed from the separation of Michael Luttrell and Samantha Cucco, who divorced in 2008 after being married for 16 years. Luttrell agreed to pay alimony to Cucco for eight years.

Under state law, alimony payments can be cut off if the payee remarries or has been “habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage” for a year or more.

Luttrell sought to end the payments in 2014. He said in court filings that Cucco was engaged to her new partner and had been living with her for more than a year.

Cucco argued her situation did not qualify as cohabitation because the relationship was with another woman.

Both Fairfax County Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled in Cucco’s favor; the courts found that cohabitation was understood to apply only to relationships between a man and a woman.

The state Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and said their interpretation would produce an “untenable result” of unequal treatment in identical divorce situations.

“The individual in the same-sex relationship would continue to receive support while the individual in the opposite-sex relationship would not,” Justice William C. Mims wrote in the high court’s opinion. “We cannot conclude that the General Assembly intended such a result.”

Mims was serving in the legislature in 1997 when the alimony statute at the heart of the case was amended.

Mims noted in the opinion that the General Assembly considered language clearly defining cohabitation as only pertaining to the opposite sex, but that amendment was rejected in favor of the broader language in the law today.

“By declining to modify the word ‘person’ with the phrase ‘of the opposite sex,’ the General Assembly signaled its intention that ‘person’ would include individuals of either sex,” he wrote.

John P. O’Herron, a Richmond appellate attorney who tracked the case, said it was somewhat unusual because Cucco did not contest the appeals above the circuit court.

Though the case pertains to new legal questions posed by gay marriage, O’Herron said the ruling likely will affect only the specific issue in divorce law.

“I really don’t see this as sort of altering the landscape,” he said.

The ACLU of Virginia represented Luttrell in the case. Gail Deady, an ACLU of Virginia lawyer focused on gender equality, said the ruling recognizes that “all laws regarding marriage must be applied equally regardless of the gender of the individuals involved.”

“Marriage equality means marriage equality,” Deady said.

Sourced From   – http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/article_80ae492a-0a9b-5ae0-9df8-5f7efe1fdc0c.html

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Divorce Attorney

We’ve provided a few questions you might consider asking during your initial interview with a family law attorney. These may help you determine whether this lawyer is right for your case.

1. Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice? How long have you been practicing family law? How many family law cases have you handled? Are you a “certified family law specialist?”

2. What is your strategy for my case? How long will it take to resolve my case?

3. How long do you take to return phone calls? How do I get a hold of you if there is an emergency? What do you consider to be an emergency?

4. Will anyone else in your office be working on my case? What experience do they have? Can I meet them?

5. How will you charge me? What is your hourly rate? Do you charge for the time I spend with other lawyers, with paralegals, and/or with secretaries? If so, at what rate? What is your retainer up front?

6. What costs (other than your own) do you expect will be involved (for example, for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychologists), and how will you charge me for them?

7. What’s your estimate of the total cost of this divorce? (Do not be alarmed that most divorce attorneys will resist answering this question as the cost of the divorce depends greatly upon the level of conflict in your case. However, the way attorneys answer this question may help you size them up. An honest attorney will often answer that it is difficult to estimate the costs in advance. An attorney that gives you an unrealistically low amount may just be trying to get your business).

8. Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? How can I keep the cost of my divorce down? Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut down on the amount you will charge me?

9. Based on what you know about my case, how would you predict a judge would rule on it?

10. What can you do to help me understand the tax effect of the decisions I will have to make?

sourced from – http://www.divorcenet.com/states/california/top_10_questions_to_ask_a_prospective_divorce_attorney#b