Camille and Kelsey Grammer Settle Their Custody Battle



After a long and embarrassingly public divorce, Beverly Hills Housewife Camille and Broadway star Kelsey Grammer reportedly end their custody battle. The couple shares two children: Jude, 7 years old, and Mason, 10 years old. It seems that Camille will have physical custody of the children since their primary residence will be with her. Kelsey will reportedly have “meaningful contact” with the children. After a 13-year marriage it appears both stars have moved on. Kelsey remarried within two weeks of finalizing his divorce. He and his new wife are expecting twins. According to Camille’s statements on her show the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” , she is also happily in a relationship with lawyer Dimitri Charalambopoulos.

Camille filed for divorce on July 1, 2010 after learning of Kelsey’s affair with a stewardess, Kayte Walsh. Kelsey was able to marry his new wife Kayte Walsh before settling all aspects of his divorce with Camille through the bifurcation process. In order to accomplish this, Kelsey asked the judge to grant a divorce decree while suspending the division of the large and complex marital estate. The estate is estimated to be worth $120 million dollars and because the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, Camille demanded $50 million.

In San Diego, the court will agree to bifurcate a divorce case. States like New York, Texas, Arizona, and Michigan only bifurcate cases in exceptional circumstances. California is part of a minority of states that bifurcate divorce cases for almost any reason. To bifurcate a case is to split it into two parts. Generally, as in the Grammer divorce, the first issue to be litigated is marital status. By resolving marital status, each spouse becomes divorced and therefore single and able to legally remarry. The remaining issues may include disputes over property distribution, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony.

A party may wish to bifurcate a case in order to remarry like Kelsey or the spouse may be motivated by tax consequences or implications. A person can file his or her taxes “single” as long as his or her marital status was terminated before the end of the year. During a divorce proceeding, the court often makes temporary orders for spousal support. Any spousal support payments are 100% deductible for the payor and must be claimed as income by the payee. This tax consequence is not implicated if the couple decides to file a joint tax return. In other instances, when the divorce is a particularly acrimonious one, bifurcation can prevent one spouse from exerting control over the other’s personal life by delaying the ultimate result, divorce.

A bifurcation may be obtained by agreement of the parties. In this case, the parties stipulate that the cause may be tried as an uncontested matter. Because a divorce can take many months or even years to proceed through the California family court system, many parties seek to bifurcate their case in order to obtain some degree of finality. They will be legally divorced and able to move on with their lives while in the process of litigating other matters. Not surprisingly, Camille opposed Kelsey’s motion to bifurcate the divorce proceedings. Although many speculated that Camille was simply acting as a woman scorned, she was also concerned that legally divorcing Kelsey would leave her with uncertain rights to the marital estate that had yet to be divided.

Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding custody. San Diego Family Law Attorney Nancy J. Bickford is the only board-certified divorce lawyer representing clients in San Diego who also holds an MBA and a CPA. Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.

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