...delaying a divorce
The acrimonious divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is making headlines once again, as Heard has claimed that Depp is attempting to delay proceedings.
A settlement has been made and the proceedings had appeared to be coming to an end, however Heard has now filed a Request for Order as she is claiming that Depp is not following through with the signed and agreed settlement.
Looking at the details of the divorce of the Rum Diaries co-stars, Jenine Abdo – Solicitor on Simpson Millar’s Family Law team – warns of the generalisations that are being attributed to this split.
Domestic violence claims
News coverage of Heard and Deep’s marriage intensified in May last year, after it was revealed that Heard filed divorce papers and requested a restraining order against her husband, making allegations of domestic abuse.
The pair were married for 15 months before Heard filed for divorce, with reports emerging that their relationship had turned bitter due to a feud between Depp’s family and his wife.
A settlement was agreed in August, with Depp set to pay $7 million, which Heard intends to give to charity.
The settlement agreement also involves transferring ownership of a vehicle into Heard’s name, allowing Heard to retrieve her possessions from Depp’s private island in the Bahamas, and splitting furniture in the residential properties where the couple resided during their short marriage.
Request for Order
With the settlement in place, it appeared that one of the more heated separations in recent Hollywood history would be coming to an end, however it is once again making headlines as fresh court papers filed by Heard’s lawyers have been picked up by various publications.
The court papers centre on a Request for Order, which is a piece of paperwork relevant to the American legal system that requests the court to become involved in enforcing settlement agreements.
Request for Order paperwork is usually filed for child support payments but it can cover other issues, in this instance it is claimed by Heard’s team that Depp is stalling on his part of the settlement and has not paid the agreed $7 million sum and is not allowing Heard to collect her possessions.
Heard claims that the Pirates of the Caribbean star is delaying the divorce to cause her more pain and that she wants to be divorced from him as soon as possible, so that she can move on with her life.
In the paperwork, Heard claims that:
“Johnny has not lived up to his obligation to me under the [settlement], including payments, allowing me to retrieve my personal property, transferring title of a vehicle to me and meeting regarding division of the furniture and furnishings in the residential units we occupied. Johnny has delayed the resolution of this matter. I want my life back. I want to be divorced now.”
In response, Depp’s legal team claim that Heard is trying to regain the spotlight and seek an extension of her “15 minutes of fame“ by filing what they deem to be an unnecessary Request for Order.
It is expected that this latest disagreement will not be concluded until January 13th, when a court will make a ruling on Heard’s motion and decide whether it needs to become involved to speed up Depp adhering to the settlement.
Explaining the complexities of the case, Jenine said:
“The difficulty here is that we must remember that each case and their circumstances are different; there may be reasons as to why matters are delayed.”
“More often than not when people are represented, their instructed solicitors are able to keep the case on track, however this does not appear to be the case here and the same difficulties are arising that we often see when someone is representing themselves.”
“If delays are made purposely by a litigant in person the consequence can be an increase in costs and a lengthier time within proceedings. However there are various remedies, depending on the issue and stage of the case, one can make.”
Written by Jenine Abdo.
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