...terminating a marriage
Reports have emerged claiming that both Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver do not wish to finalise their divorce, despite being separated for five years.
Attempting to sort fact from fiction, Jenine Abdo – Solicitor on the Family Law team at Simpson Millar LLP – looks at some of the possible reasons the couple are not filing their final divorce papers.
Will they be back?
One could assume that as they’ve not moved on with their divorce, despite being separated for five years, both Arnold and Maria are hoping that their romance will rekindle in the future, however this does not seem a likely explanation.
Both parties have moved on romantically, Terminator star Schwarzenegger has been dating physical therapist Heather Milligan for years, while journalist Shriver seems happy with long-term boyfriend Matthew Dowd, an American political consultant.
With both Arnold and Maria tight-lipped on the reason that their divorce has never been finalised speculation has been rife regarding their split.
The couple parted ways five years ago, after Maria was made aware that action hero Arnie had fathered a child with the family house keeper, Mildred Baena.
Without a prenuptial agreement in place, no formal arrangement has been made regarding the $400 million wealth shared by the couple, however it is claimed that both parties agreed on a way to split their fortune years ago.
Despite being estranged the couple seem to be on amicable terms, as they often attend family events together and as their four children are all adults there’s been no custody battles to report.
Some rumours suggest that Maria’s religious views stop her from pursuing an official divorce and Arnie is respecting her wishes, however until either party reveal their personal feelings – which seems unlikely – any suggestions as to why they are happy to remain married while living separate lives will remain a mystery.
Get to the divorce courts
Despite a property settlement being in place there could still be some legal implications of the couple remaining married, as Jenine explains:
“While these sorts of celebrity news pieces cause a lot of traffic on the gossip pages, it is important that the legal implications of these matters are not lost during the speculation over the nature of the couple’s separation.
“Without a prenuptial agreement in place there is no clearly defined arrangement regarding their estate and, while both parties may have agreed to a splitting of their fortune during the separation, the situation could become messy if the amicable relationship turns sour.
“Similarly, unless specific conditions are outlined in their wills there could be a situation where an estranged partner inherits the entirety of the couple’s fortune, meaning their new romantic interests miss out on their share of inheritance.
“It is commendable that this mother and father have maintained a friendly relationship after their separation and it appears as though their four children have been shielded from much of the suffering that can arise when partners separate, however if an acrimonious feeling grew between the couple then the ensuing legal battle could be difficult for the family dynamic.”
Written by Jenine Abdo
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