10 Celebrities Who Were Victims of Domestic Violence


Image: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Domestic violence comes in many forms; it can be emotional or physical, and it can be against a man or a woman. The point is, it can happen to anyone. Even some of the richest, most famous and most powerful people in the world can be affected by domestic abuse. Most are able to come out the other side and put their lives back together, but not always. More than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day, and those that are abused are nine times as likely to commit suicide. Statistics like this mean it’s important not to shy away from talking about domestic violence. Being a victim is nothing to be ashamed about; being the perpetrator is. While we hear more about when it’s a celebrity in the news, if you are in New Jersey and violence at home impacts your life and family, we are here for immediate legal help for domestic violence issues.

10. Diane Lane

Image: Josh Wood

In 2004, actress Diane Lane was alleged to have been the victim of domestic abuse after accusing her husband John Brolin of attacking her. However, she later dropped the charges against him. She had phoned police claiming he hit her during an argument at their Los Angeles home and Brolin was arrested that night for spousal battery. At the time, their spokeswomen said: “There was a misunderstanding at their home… she did not want to press charges… they are embarrassed the matter went this far.”

9. Bill Clinton

Image: World Economic Forum

It’s testament to a man’s willpower that he can become one of the most powerful men in the world even though he grew up surrounded by domestic violence. When the former U.S. President was just 8 years old his mother married Roger Clinton, a car dealer from Arkansas and also an alcoholic. Life wasn’t all rosy for the young Bill, and was – according to his autobiography – frequently marred by his stepfather’s violent outbursts. It’s said that, at the age of 15, Bill warned Roger never to hit his mother or half-brother ever again. In a later interview with Time magazine, Clinton recalled what a dramatic moment standing up to him had been.

8. Halle Berry

Image: thenzbplace.com

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is a fierce campaigner against domestic violence, having seen it firsthand. In 2004 she admitted to having been hit so hard by one of her ex-boyfriends that she lost the hearing in her right ear. Berry has never disclosed the identity of her attacker. She recently revealed that her mother was also the victim of domestic abuse, so when it happened to her, the actress knew it was time to get out of the relationship.

7. Madonna

Image: David Shankbone

Madonna still describes Sean Penn as the love of her life, even though he was charged with domestic violence in 1988. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and a year later they were divorced. Madonna and Penn met in ’85 and were married soon afterward. During their short marriage Sean Penn was alleged to have had frequent violent outbursts both towards his wife and towards others.

6. Mariah Carey

Image: Ricardo Alvarez

She has hinted about her suffering a few times in the past, but in 2009 Mariah Carey came out and admitted she had been the victim of emotional and mental abuse. The mega-star was promoting a film which touches on the subject and said domestic abuse was not a new thing to her. Carey married music mogul Tommy Mottola in 1993; they divorced 5 years later. The singer told Larry King: “Abuse has several categories… emotionally, mentally, in other ways. It’s scary. I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in… For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life.”

5. Rihanna

Image: Gemma Mary

R&B star Rihanna has spoken publicly about the abuse she suffered from her ex-boyfriend. The singer was allegedly assaulted by Chris Brown and had visible bruises on her face. Brown handed himself in to police and issued a statement saying he was “sorry and saddened” and was seeking counseling. It turns out that Brown may have been subjected to violence himself after it was revealed his mother had been physically abused by his stepfather.

4. Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston

Image: tm_1001

Their turbulent relationship is well documented, but even though the rumors were that Bobby used to hit Whitney, she actually claimed it was the other way round. In an interview with the Associated Press over 10 years ago, the singing star said: “Contrary to belief, I do the hitting, he doesn’t. He has never put his hands on me. We are crazy for one another. I mean crazy in love, love, love, love, love. When we’re fighting, it’s like that’s love for us. We’re fighting for our love.” Brown, however, was later arrested in 2003 for misdemeanor battery, several years after Whitney said this. The pair eventually divorced after 15 years of marriage in 2007.

3. Pamela Anderson

Image: US Navy

The Baywatch star married drummer Tommy Lee in 1995, after knowing him for just four days. Their stormy marriage lasted just 3 years, and in that time the Mötley Crüe member served 4 months in jail for domestic abuse against Anderson. It’s reported that during this incident Lee kicked pin-up girl Pamela while she was holding their son Dylan. But even though Anderson had helped to convict Lee, she was waiting for him when he came out and the pair briefly reconciled. Now, though, they’ve gone their separate ways.

2. Phil Hartman

Image: Paul Hartmann

Unlike most of the other examples here Phil Hartman did not live to tell the tale. The former Saturday Night Live star was murdered by his wife – shot in the head, neck and arm as he lay sleeping in their LA home in 1998. Phil and Brynn Hartman’s 11-year marriage had been described as stormy. On the night it happened (May 28th) Brynn had been out drinking and also had traces of cocaine in her system. After killing her husband she drove to a friend’s house and said: “I shot Phil.” The friend didn’t believe her and they both returned to the marital home the next morning. After the police were called, Brynn then shot herself.

1. Tina Turner

Image: Helge Overas

Tina’s violent marriage with Ike Turner is well known, largely thanks to the film based on her life, What’s Love Got To Do With It. In the film the singer suffered severe beatings, was raped and had cigarettes stubbed out on her body. Her husband Ike is portrayed as a violent, controlling sociopath, and when Tina’s autobiography was published Ike actually admitted that the book was largely accurate. The pair were married for 16 years before Tina had the courage to leave. Ike is now dead.

Choosing Your NJ Divorce Lawyer

A period of divorce and separation is not pleasant, yet choosing the right NJ divorce lawyer can aid in easing anxiety and facilitating the ideal outcome for you.  Choosing a divorce lawyer is not as simple as thumbing through the Yellow Pages or ‘Googling’ an associated phrase into your computer.  Take some time in searching for the best NJ divorce lawyer available for your predicament.  Here are some helpful tips to facilitate your search:

To begin, it is important to choose a lawyer or firm that is experienced in family law.  Lawyers and firms can be well diversified in many areas of law, yet it is best to choose a firm that hosts one or several attorneys that primarily focus on family law.  An NJ divorce lawyer must have significant courtroom experience as well as pass a set of rigorous tests in order to become certified in this specific area of practice.  In addition, to maintain certification, they must regularly continue their education each year.

Secondly, lawyers have their own legalese language, which is used in documentation and in communicating with cohorts, judges, and associated parties, yet there is no need to be confusing to clients.  Choose a lawyer that can explain your predicament and options in plain English.  Knowing how to relate to clients is a huge part of being a successful NJ divorce lawyer; conveying technical jargon will only make the client more confused and nervous in regards to their specific situation.

Going through a divorce or separation is a highly personal predicament.  You will want to align yourself with a NJ divorce lawyer that is kind, understanding, and can relate to you on both a professional and personal level.  Choose a lawyer that makes you feel comfortable divulging all necessary information and personal history germane to your case.

Unfortunately, many separations and divorces involve children.  It is important to choose an NJ divorce lawyer who will be sensitive to the needs and ongoing happiness of your children.  Counsel that pushes for vindictive settlements or drawn-out hearings are not emphasizing the mental well being of children.

Lastly, choose an NJ divorce lawyer who is dedicated to their craft and passionate about helping their clients.  Impressive experiences and settlement history may be attractive and a ‘selling point’ for some counselors, yet divorce settlements warrant professionals who are caring and concerned for their clients.

New Jersey Family Law Attorney Practice Areas

Until you find yourself amidst the circumstances, one may not think about the concentration areas of a New Jersey Family Law attorney. An NJ divorce attorney addresses such issues as divorce, separation, child custody, and other germane issues. The following post will serve as an introduction to the general and specific areas of Family Law divorce attorney services.

The general areas of divorce and legal separation are main avenues explored by your New Jersey Family Law attorney. Dedicated lawyers devote passion and use prior experiences to concentrate on specific areas such as:
– High-net-worth divorce
– Contested divorce
– Uncontested divorce
– Legal Separation
– Out-of-state, international, or military divorce
– Domestic partnership dissolution
– Mediation
– Alimony, maintenance, and spousal support
– Division of Assets
– Palimony
– Post-divorce matters

In addition to the issues of resolution facilitated by your New Jersey Family Law attorney involving the two partners of the marriage, many separations have children to consider as well. A separation warrants careful consideration of children involved and how time and responsibility will be divided between the two partners in order to sufficiently raise the children and facilitate their ongoing happiness and adjustment. The following areas of jurisprudence are addressed by your New Jersey Family Law attorney regarding children and parenting:
– Child custody, parenting, and visitation rights
– Visitation plans
– Child support and related guidelines
– Relocation
– Educational expenses
– Emancipation
– Parental alienation
– Father’s rights
– Paternity
– Adoption
– Kinship legal guardianship
– Children of domestic partners

Mediation
– Mediation is often sought as an alternative to family court ‘battles.’ Mediation is often seen as a ‘gentler’ way to resolve divorce and separation issues and is also less stressful on children involved.

Domestic Violence
New Jersey Family Law attorneys sometimes address issues of domestic violence. Partners can become victims of domestic violence taking the shape of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. Such types of abuse are categorized by courts and New Jersey Family Law attorneys as domestic violence and can warrant the attainment of restraining orders if necessary. Areas of specialization include:
– Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
– Obtaining Temporary and Final Restraining Orders
– Defending Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence

Pre and Post-Nuptial Financial Agreements
– Defining fine lines of financial boundaries is often an area of concern for partners. New Jersey Family Law attorneys can address both pre and post-nuptial financial agreements. Such issues such as alimony and asset division can be handled by attorneys before, during, or after a marriage.

10 Greatest Prenups in History


Photo: kevindooley

Prenuptials are big business, and if you’re wealthy and in love there’s a risk you could lose a lot of money by glossing over this vital document. Take celebrities Kelsey Grammar, for example: the Frasier actor didn’t sign one when he married his wife Camille Donatacci and she is now in line to receive $30 million of his $84 million fortune. Almost all of the most expensive break-ups are down to not having a prenup: Heather Mills and Paul McCartney, Mel and Robyn Gibson, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, you name it. But sometimes, even when the world’s richest people have thought ahead, the amount of cash involved in the split can still be phenomenal. Here’s our list of some of the biggest prenuptial settlements that have happened or could happen.

10. Beyonce and Jay-Z ($25 million or more)

Photo: Cornel Pex

There’s no telling how big the prenup is going to be until a divorce is actually finalized and an agreement has been set, but if this one did happen, it could be huge. Hip hop mogul Jay-Z and his new wife Beyonce have reportedly signed a prenup that promises her at least $10 million if the marriage fails within 2 years, plus an extra $1 million for every year they stay together thereafter. In addition, if the R&B singer has any of his children she will receive $5 million extra for every one. Beyonce is already worth $100 million herself, but according to the National Enquirer she could be entitled to $25 million if they split, and that’s not counting the children. 38-year-old Jay-Z’s net worth is estimated at $300 million.

9. Donald and Ivana Trump ($34 million)

Photo: Robert delGrosso

Apprentice star and business tycoon Donald Trump is one man who knows the value of getting a watertight prenup. His first wife, Ivana, challenged the legality of their pre-marital document in 1991 and walked away with far more than she would have had it held up in court. According to reports, his former wife was given $20 million in cash, the $14 million family home and $350,000 a year in alimony.

8. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones ($40 million just for cheating)

Photo: jayhawk6

A prenuptial agreement can be about anything, not just how to divide marital assets. It’s reported that the Douglas-Zeta Jones document has a paragraph about how much money Catherine stands to receive if her husband Michael is caught cheating. Plus, she’s entitled to £2.8 million for every year they’re married. The movie legend’s previous marriage to Diandra Douglas cost him $45 million when it ended in 2000 after 23 years, so maybe he’s trying to pin down every eventuality were he to go through another break-up.

7. Madonna and Guy Ritchie ($76 million)

photo: sheksays

When both parties are considered well-off it’s easy to wonder why they would bother to write a prenup document. But then there’s well-off and there’s being as rich as Madonna. Even though her new husband was an established and profitable film director when they tied the knot, nothing compared to the material girl’s wealth. After 8 years of marriage, and even though there was a prenup in place, Guy Ritchie still came away from their partnership with a reported $76 million.

6. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving ($100 million)

photo: Vicky

Amy Irving was an aspiring actress when she met the established director Steven Spielberg in 1984, so when they married each party signed a prenup. Four years later and Spielberg left his wife for another actress, Kate Capshaw. The scorned wife managed to get the couple’s original prenup thrown out of court – which wasn’t difficult as it was written on the back of a cocktail napkin, apparently. She was eventually awarded $100 million, which was half of his net wealth at the time. An expensive but utterly useless prenup, unless you want to mop up spillages that is.

5. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren ($110 million)

Photo: Keith Allison

Mr and Mrs Woods ended their 7 year marriage in October 2010 after his string of affairs became public knowledge. The pair were going to make a go of it and rewrote the initial prenup; and to say sorry for his indiscretions Tiger had offered his humiliated wife a $5 million apology. But eventually Elin Nordegren filed for divorce. Under the newly written document the golfer had to pay out an even bigger amount. She walked away with a reported $110 million rather than the initial $20 million she would have received had they been married for 10 years.

4. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ($125 million)

Photo: Waponi

A prenup can actually pay out during a marriage. Katie Holmes earns money for every year she stays with Tom Cruise and collects the $3 million annually. But the best part for Mrs Cruise? If they’re together for over 11 years the agreement is abolished and she is entitled to half of the mega-rich Hollywood star’s fortune. Reports say that’s roughly $250 million.

3. Jack Welch and Jane Beasley Welch ($150 million)

Photo: Rain Rannu

This is a prenup that went wrong. When Jane Beasley married wealthy CEO Jack Welch they signed a pre-marriage document that had a “sunset clause” in it. It meant that if the marriage lasted more then 10 years the prenup was null and void. That happened in 1999, and by 2002 Jane Beasley Welch was fighting for half of her ex-billionaire husband’s wealth. She eventually received $150 million from the former General Electric head.

2. Michael and Juanita Jordan ($168 million)

photo: cliff1066

Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita split up in 2006 after 17 years of marriage. They had signed a prenuptial agreement which said Juanita would be entitled to half her husband’s fortune, but when it came to splitting up the marital money she only took a third. Still, that third was $168 million.

1. Robert and Sheila Johnson ($400 million)

Photo: David Shankbone

Robert Johnson, the co-founder of BET and America’s first African-American billionaire, paid out a massive $400 million to his wife of 30 years when their marriage ended in 2002. The prenup held up in court and Sheila was awarded half of their joint assets, making it one of the biggest divorce settlements in history (even with a prenup!). Both have continued their business dealings, owning majority stakes in professional men’s and women’s basketball teams. Three years later and Sheila married William Newman Jr. who was the judge presiding over her original divorce case.

10 Most Bizarre Custody Cases Involving Pets


Image: larryvincent

Divorce or separation can be an extraordinarily stressful experience – especially for couples with dependents. However, increasingly, those dependents include not only the kids but the family pets as well. It might seem odd but many Americans care for their furry friends as they would for their own children, so when love turns sour the tug of war extends not just to the Ford but also to the family pooches. Indeed, when everything is at stake, the custody of pets can turn agreements into acrimony. There’s even a book on the subject: We Can’t Stay Together for the Dogs. Here are 10 of the most bizarre custody cases fought over family pets.

10. Tequila the Parrot


Image: Joao Maximo

Tequila the African gray parrot was lucky enough to be a much loved bird – so much so that Tequila’s second owner named him Lucky. However, Tequila was originally owned by Angela Colicheski of Boca Raton, FL; the bird managed to escape, and was eventually taken in by Sarita Lytell. By chance, 3 years later, Colicheski and Lytell met at a Dunkin’ Donuts, and got to talking about their shared love of parrots, before realizing that they had at different times actually owned the same bird. At this point Colicheski asked Lytell to return him and when she refused, Colicheski sued. Lucky no more, Tequila was returned to Colicheski three months later and Lytell’s claim for the cost of keeping the bird was dismissed.

9. ‘Pepperoni’ the Border Collie


Image: =Tom=

Custody battles aren’t always fought between husband and wife; sometimes the pooch’s godparents get involved as well. British lawyer Sandra Toye told The Independent about a case where a breeder had given ‘Pepperoni’, a border collie, to a friend, with no money or paperwork changing hands. When the friend split from her husband the breeder snatched ‘Pepperoni’ back, claiming that the dog was her property. More than 11 months and £20,000 ($30,000) later, the breeder gave in and returned the hound. The client commented: “I know it was financially dumb but my mindset all along was, ‘We’re not going to let them win’.”

8. Poppy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier


Image: Sannse

Take reality TV stars and add litigation and pets and you have the perfect recipe for a media circus. Brits Melanie Hill, of the first series of Big Brother in the UK, and Alex Sibley, who appeared in the third series, fell out big time over their pet Staffordshire bull terrier, Poppy – to the tune of a 13-month battle, costing £25,000 ($40,000). When the pair split at the end of a 2-year relationship, Melanie kept the pup, bought for £70 ($100) from Battersea Dogs Home, while Alex was arrested for harassment (for which he was later cleared). A judge eventually awarded the pair shared custody and called for Melanie to pay 80% of Alex’s costs as well as her own – while warning that the dog might be affected by the tension. Alex told the BBC: “She is a dog in a million… She is absolutely the best dog in the world.”

7. Lucy the Lamb


Image: Tambako the Jaguar

Not all custody battles are fought over pampered hounds; one Bethan Parkinson actually fought for, and eventually lost, custody of a sheep. Bethan bought Lucy the lamb as a pet for her daughter while living in Buckley, in the UK. However, she soon found that with four dogs, three cats and two ponies she had no room for Lucy, so she asked the manager of an animal rescue center if they could care for the animal. Five months later, having moved to North Wales, Bethan attempted to get the sheep back. The rescue center refused, so Bethan called the police. When four officers arrived she displayed a receipt for the sheep, for £30 ($45), and Lucy was returned. The rescue center then took legal action and won – saying Bethan had changed her mind after leaving Lucy with them.

6. Bailey the Staffordshire-Labrador cross


Image: sam i am

When British model Orla O’Rourke split from her boyfriend, male model Tim, he decided that their dog, Bailey, was his. Following an amicable private settlement, Orla took to making a two hour round trip from central London to Romford, Essex once a fortnight – an arrangement that lasted for more than 4 years. However, this wasn’t the first time that Orla had made the effort to keep in touch with separated pets. After breaking up with a boyfriend in the US, Orla flew transatlantic once every six weeks in order to spend a full week with the dogs the couple had shared. The ex would apparently sometimes try to stop her from seeing the dogs – so she waited until he was out and crept through the dog door. “There’s always a lot of strife around it,” she told the Daily Mail. “You see the worst of some people. It’s so easy to use the dog against your partner.”

5. Zena the Poodle


Image: tanakawho

When Zena the poodle’s owners John and Lisa Roberts parted ways they couldn’t decide who would claim the then 5-year-old dog. After a one hour hearing, John was given Zena on weekdays and Lisa given her on weekends. Adding hyperbole to the proceedings, John’s attorney Joe Duncan commented: “It’s like what a Solomon decision might do. The parties just felt so strongly about this issue that it was very difficult for them to give in, and that’s what judges are for.” Fortunately no one suggested cutting Zena in half – though we hope neither party would have accepted the offer.

4. Gigi the Pointer-Greyhound cross


Image: Philandthehounds

By now you might have got the message that when people fight over pets, they fight hard. When Dr Stanley Perkins parted ways with his wife Linda in 2000 they set a precedent for determination. In all the couple were reported to have spent $150,000 fighting over their pointer-greyhound cross-breed, Gigi, which they had adopted from an animal shelter. During a three day hearing, reports by animal behaviorists, bonding studies and a video on Gigi’s routine were all scrutinized. Linda even presented a birthday card from Gigi recognizing her as the dog’s ‘mommy’. She ultimately won custody.

3. Jakob the Horse


Image: Bjørn Bulthuis

When parish councilor Anthony Ewen took Jakob the horse from his field, in the UK, it started a very peculiar chain of events. Anthony claimed that the horse, which had been bought while he was married to his ex-wife Chrissie McBurnie, would be happier and safer in another field, with other animals. The following night Chrissie and her friend Tracey Young held a silent protest at a parish council meeting with a poster of the horse. The police were called and four officers removed the pair from the meeting. Chrissie, who claims Anthony does not know the horse’s name, as he calls him Thunder, said: “He is doing this to hurt me. Jakob has hardly any cash value – you can buy ponies at auction for £50 ($75) these days. He might be worth £300 ($450) to the meat man but that is it.” It was alleged that she punched Anthony in the face two days later.

2. Trouble the Maltese


Image: *Ann Gordon

When ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley died she left the largest bequest in her will, of $12m, to her Maltese, Trouble. A year later the dog’s trust fund was slashed to a mere $2m, with an annual expenditure of $100,000 to cover security, $8,000 on grooming and $1,200 for food. Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel, serves as a guardian for the spoiled pooch, on a salary of $60,000 a year. Mr Lekic might just be one rather lucky custodian.

1. Rocky the Golden Labrador


Image: www.charlietphoto.com

When New York businessman Marsh Newmark’s wife, opera singer Darynn Zimmer, left with the dog, things did not go well. Initially the couple shared Rocky the golden labrador, but, according to the New York Daily News, one day Darynn had a dog walker announce that Rocky would not be being returned and then accused Marsh of abusing the dog. The golden lab got a clean bill of health from a vet, but Darynn then announced she was moving to Connecticut. Distraught, Marsh asked a friend to apprehend Rocky while he was being walked. The friend was tackled by a doorman and the police were called, while the boyfriend reportedly shouted: “He’s stealing my dog!” It was then that the couple took Rocky to court – and after a $60,000 custody battle, Darynn retained custody.

Images used are for illustration only.

10 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Adopted


Image: Acaben

Giving up your child for adoption can be a difficult decision to make, but it happens more often than you might think. For some it has taken decades to discover the shocking truth that the people who raised them are not their biological parents – and for one reason or another that their biological parents felt they could not raise them. Here are 10 celebrities who you might never have guessed were adopted – and who haven’t been held back by adoption. Read more

10 Celebrities Who Divorced Their Parents

While we might all have spent some time in our childhood wondering if we could be legally separated from our parents, it’s actually a pretty unusual thing to do – and with good reason. If a petition of emancipation is approved, the child takes on adult responsibilities in the eyes of the law (though that doesn’t mean they can drink or drive) and they must prove that they can support themselves. Yet whether it’s to take on adult responsibilities or to part from an unstable home, it’s a drastic decision to make. However, more celebrities than you might think have been granted ‘divorces’ from their parents when there are child and parenting issues affecting primarily the child. Here are 10 famous kids who divorced their parents:

10. Juliette Lewis

Wild child Juliette Lewis was emancipated from her parents at the age of 14, before moving in with family friend Karen Black and then into her own apartment. She then bought a car without a valid license, dropped out of high school and got into drugs. Then she appeared in The Wonder Years. She also dated Michael Dewitt, who worked as a nanny for Kurt Cobain … and Courtney Love.

9. Drew Barrymore

Another wild one, Drew was smoking at the age of 9, drinking at 11 and taking cocaine at 13. A regular at Studio 54, she was in rehab at 13 and attempted suicide when she was 14. Then she moved in with singer David Crosby, sobered up and a year later filed for emancipation – and has never relapsed since.

8. Courtney Love

Courtney Michelle Harrison certainly had a complicated upbringing, shooting from a hippie commune in Oregon to New Zealand and from boarding school to reform school. Following childhood highlights such as unsuccessfully shoplifting a Kiss t-shirt and applying for the Mickey Mouse Club with a reading of a Sylvia Plath poem, Love applied for and was granted emancipation from her mother, who was living on the other side of the world, at the age of 16. She went on to travel around the US, England and Ireland, living on a trust fund set up by her mother’s adoptive parents.

7. Frances Bean Cobain

However, that was only the beginning of the Courtney Love story. In 1992 she had a child with her husband Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who, in 1994, killed himself. Some years later, at the age of 17, Frances Bean was put into the custody of her maternal grandmother and her father’s sister. A restraining order was then put on Love forbidding her from any contact with her daughter.

6. Eliza Dushku

Dushku came from a happy home, completed high school and went to university. Why did the Albanian-Danish Mormon divorce her parents then? As a 17-year-old she filed for a petition to get around child labor restrictions, allowing her to spend more time on set filming for her role as Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

5. Bijou Phillips

At 15, Bijou Phillips left a home, where her father (John Phillips of The Mamas & Papas) and her sister were allegedly both taking cocaine, to live alone in a Fifth Avenue apartment with her own maid, while working as a model. Two years later, after becoming distraught over the heroin overdose death of her friend, 20-year-old socialite Davide Sorrenti, she went into rehab.

4. Aaron Carter

At the age of 16, Carter filed for emancipation from his mother, alleging she had taken $100,000 from his bank account without his permission. “I feel betrayed by my own mother,” he said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He later withdrew the petition and the pair reconciled.

3. Dominique Moceanu

Only 14 years old, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the US women’s gymnastics team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Three years later she sued her parents to find out what had happened to her money. The following month, her former coach skipped town after reports that Moceanu’s father, Dumitru, had hired a hit man to kill him. Dumitru later denied the allegations, but took the Fifth. Despite being emancipated, Dominique eventually reconciled with her parents.

2. Jaime Pressly

Jaime Pressly was another teen with a strong work ethic – she was granted emancipation at the age of 15 so she could take a semester out of school and accept a modeling job in Japan. Due to child labor laws she was required to travel with a legal guardian, but neither of her parents could attend, so adult status was essential. Coincidentally, however, her parents, who had been married for 21 years, were divorcing at the time – but as she says, “It wasn’t a Macaulay Culkin kind of thing…”

1. Macaulay Culkin

Beginning in Macaulay’s 14th year, his parents, who had never married, separated and began to fight over their (very successful) children – and $17m of little Mac’s money. His mother, Patricia Brentrup, subsequently won custody, and at 16 he took his parents to court to gain control of his earnings, eventually paying off Patricia’s legal debts and parting ways with his father. He would later divorce his wife of 2 years in 2000, at the age of 19.

Divorce Documents

When filing for divorce in New Jersey, certain documents must be filed. First, a “complaint for divorce” is filed, which gives basic information about the marriage, including where it was held, if there are any children to be considered, and the grounds for divorce. Along with the complaint for divorce, a “confidential litigation information sheet” must also be filed. This sheet contains detailed information about each spouse, including their social security number, overall health, place and date of birth, and the names and ages of all the children. Each spouse, after submitting all necessary information and documents must sign a “CDR” certification, which just notes for the court that each party has been made aware of the lower-cost, alternative dispute resolution.

Response documents are also among the first filed by the defendant. An “appearance” is filed once the defendant receives the complaint, an “answer,” either confirms or denies the grounds for divorce, and the optional “counterclaim,” allows the defendant to file based on other grounds not originally mentioned by the plaintiff (this isn’t always necessary, but your attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have about the process).

All documents filed will become a matter of public record after the divorce process begins…many parents keep this in mind when describing how they feel about their spouse, and the reasons for the divorce. Children will be able to access the information years from now.

Discovery Process

After initial documents are filed, the divorce will be given a case number, and each spouse’s attorney will be given a specific amount of time to conduct what the court calls the “discovery” period. Every divorce is different, and depending on whether a custody hearing will be held, the discovery period could be longer or shorter.

The New Jersey courts try their best to keep divorces from lasting much over a year’s time. However, when there is much to dispute or a lot of discovery is necessary (if there was a business shared, or if there are many assets or debts to be divided, for example), it is not uncommon for a divorce to last longer than a year. Which is why its best to be as cooperative as possible; its in everyone’s best interest to have the proceedings not last longer than they need to.

A “case information statement” is provided by each spouse, which details the status of his or her financials. The household budget, projected financial needs of dependents, bank account information, property values, income (current and projected), and all bills and debts (totaled), will be have to be given over to your attorneys. This information will help determine income needed to cover both spouses’ projected expenses, and help determine if there will be a shortage once “real income” is applied.

There are cases when a party isn’t totally aware of the financial details of their household because their spouse typically handled all the financial decisions. In this scenario discovery tools are used to make sure both parties have all the information necessary.

If your divorce requires more discovery than is typical, you may choose to have your spouse or other individuals deposed (give their sworn statement) as to the status of financials. There are also divorces where discovery ventures beyond the case information document, and property appraisals, evaluations by psychologists, etc must be acquired.

Equitable Distribution

As with other steps in the divorce process, how the marital assets will be divided cannot be decided until all financial information is gathered and all questions answered. Information about income (current and potential), tax returns, current values of the property, needs of the care-giving parent to maintain the primary marital home, etc, must all be shared with the courts.

Equitable distribution also involves discussing the financial contributions of each spouse throughout the course of their marriage. How much each spouse contributed to the other’s education, or even what career sacrifices—which led to earning sacrifices—were made by one spouse for the other, or at least as a result of the other spouse’s career/education (for example, if one spouse stayed home with the children, thereby not pursuing career advancement, so the other spouse could attend school or work more hours)… all are taken into account.