A recent Marketwatch article looked at the ongoing divorce case of actor Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Readers who pay attention to celebrity news know that Heard filed for divorce in California last month, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple had only been married for 15 months. Along with the divorce, there has been a train of gossip regarding the actor’s personal life.
As the article points out, celebrity divorces are not typically private matters, even when the celebrities are trying to keep the divorce private. In the case of Depp and Heard, there is no prenuptial agreement to govern division of the couple’s assets, so that aspect of the divorce is likely to be more public. It’s already happening with the sale of some of Depp’s valuable art collection.
Unfortunately, divorce is not something couples can keep entirely private from the rest of the world, whether they are celebrities or not. Generally speaking, divorce proceedings are public matter, despite the private nature of some of what is dealt with in divorce. There are certain exceptions, though, depending on the state. For example, victims of sexual abuse are typically kept confidential. Otherwise, parties must request the court file divorce records under seal to keep the proceedings private.
In California, divorce proceedings and records are presumed to be open to the public unless there is a motion to file them under seal. In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic and how couples can benefit from working with an experienced attorney to keep their proceedings private.
Marketwatch.com, “What unhappy couples can learn from Johnny Depp’s divorce,” Quentin Fottrell, June 10, 2016.
Vanity Fair, “Johnny Depp Responds to Amber Heard’s Divorce Filing,” Julie Miller, May 26, 2016.