Celebrity Divorce vs. Divorce in Charlotte
Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards are apparently going to experience some more legal problems involving child support, custody and possibly contempt. I think most folks believe celebrities have their own set of problems that don’t apply to the average person. Let’s compare their alleged situation to what I’ve seen in my divorce practice and the courtroom.
While I rarely read TMZ, here’s what the article says:
- Charlie Sheen is kicking Denise Richards out of the house;
- Charlie Sheen is paying less child support than the $55,000 ordered, and has paid nothing for February and March;
- Charlie Sheen believes Denise Richards is keeping the kids from him, and Denise “wants to be present when he has the children.” Put another way, Denise wants supervised visitation for Charlie.
- Denise Richards believes Charlie wants time with his kids at his whim.
1) Spouses going through divorce in North Carolina are often faced with one person trying to get the other out of the house. Absent domestic violence or one person’s manipulation, North Carolina doesn’t provide a good way to kick a spouse out of the house. Sometimes I’ll hear about a “Divorce from Bed and Board”, but I believe that’s not a proper way to achieve this result. I’ve seen spouses stop paying the mortgage, letting the house go into foreclosure, making the home unbearable, and countless other ways of kicking the other out of the house. In this respect, people going through divorce can be just as bad as celebrities going through divorce.
2) Most parents don’t get $55,000 per month in child support. Most parents going through the court system, at some point or another, do experience problems with payment of support. Some parents do not pay the full support amount, or the payment is late, or the check says “blood money” in the memo line. Parents that don’t pay support here can go to jail just like the celebrities. The difference may be that most celebrities have more money to burn than the average parents. In this respect though, people going through divorce can be just as bad as celebrities going through divorce.
3) Whenever there are allegations of physical abuse, mental abuse, drug use, or inability to care for one’s children, the words “supervised visitation” start getting thrown around. Sometimes, “supervised visitation” is raised when one parent wants to maintain absolute control over the situation. I don’t know the lurid details between Charlie and Denise, but I do know that North Carolina courts require a high level of proof of danger to the children before supervised visitation is ordered. This type of celebrity custody problem, then, is also a problem that non-celebrity parents may face in court.
4) If Denise is right that Charlie simply wants the children whenever he wants them, she’s also right to object to being subjected to Charlie’s demands. A divorce court in North Carolina would agree, as the courts here require custody times with each parent to be spelled out with specificity. Courts have been overturned on appeal in North Carolina for failing to be specific in custody orders. Parents here (unless they agree), cannot simply have custody “whenever they want”.
While celebrity divorces may be more publicized and perhaps deal with a lot more money, they are just like us at the end of the day! Let us know about your war stories, whether celebrity or not!