In our last post, we explained how family centered case resolutions work in California divorces. In essence, a couple has 18 months to resolve their divorce or be required to go through a family centered case resolution process. During this process, the parties meet face to face to discuss and hopefully, resolve their differences. Movie star, Halle Berry, has now provided a real-life example of how a slow moving divorce is treated by the courts.
Berry filed a petition seeking a divorce from her husband, Olivier Martinez, in the Superior Court of Los Angeles on October 16, 2015. Apparently, the couple has not moved fast enough to bring their divorce to a conclusion. Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court sent both parties a notice giving them the option of submitting a final judgement of divorce or participate in the family centered case resolution process.
If no judgment is ordered by the deadline and the case resolution process is required, both parties are required to appear in court. If either party fails to appear, the court can dismiss the proceeding, fine the couple or both.
A status only judgment was entered on December 29, 2016, allowing both Berry and Martinez to claim “single” status on tax returns and similar documents. But, this status judgment does not affect issues, such as child custody (the couple has one child, and Berry has a daughter from a previous relationship that ended in 2017), alimony and division of assets.
Anyone in the throes of a slow-moving divorce should not ignore an order requiring entry of a final judgment or participation in the case resolution process. The receipt of such an order should be reviewed with a knowledgeable divorce attorney. An experienced lawyer can provide suggestions for resolving the issues that continue to divide the couple and can assist in drafting a judgment that will satisfy the court.