Last week, it was announced that Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, the Florida homeowner who was acquitted of murder in the Trayvon Martin trial, has filed for divorce. What’s the latest?
In paperwork submitted to the court, Shellie cited an irretrievable breakdown in her marriage as the grounds for the divorce. It’s also being reported that her petitiion contains the following:
– A request for George Zimmerman to pay for a permanent life insurance policy with her named as the beneficiary. In parts of the paperwork made public, Ms. Zimmerman also states that her husband should pay the premiums on the policy since he “has the financial ability to obtain such life insurance at reasonable rates.”
– Custody of the couple’s 2-year-old Rottweiler, Oso, and 8-year-old Leroy, a mixed-breed dog. (They have no children.)
– Equitable distribution of assets under Florida law of their checking accounts, trusts, partnerships and any unknown assets. (Among unknown assets is any money George Zimmerman may get from a defamation lawsuit he has filed against NBC.)
– A request to prevent George from selling off any property.
The controversy, according to some reports, involves support payments George Zimmerman began paying to his estranged wife after they separated. The money, in the form of a $4,300 monthly payment to cover living expenses, comes from the legal defense fund set up by supporters of George Zimmerman. Solicitations for the fund stated that money could be used for their living expenses, but that’s when they were still together. It’s unclear whether fund administrators will end this arrangement or allow it to continue. Some sources claim that George Zimmerman wants to use the fund to pay permanent alimony once the divorce becomes final.
Is this legal? When calculating alimony, any source of income that the paying spouse claims can be included in coming up with the support payment amount. It’s unclear in this case whether George is receiving a certain amount for monthly living expenses (which can be considered income) and then giving his wife a share of this, or if money is flowing from the fund directly to her. A judge will likely be very interested in how the fund is being used and whether or not this is legit.
The couple, who have been married just shy of five years, separated a month after George Zimmerman’s was acquitted. In an interview Friday with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Shellie revealed George has only stayed in their house three or four nights since the trial and that they even tried counseling. She moved out Aug. 13.
“I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George,” she said, adding that all he left her with was, “a bunch of pieces of broken glass” after the acquittal.