Monday, May 9, 2011

Removing the “Sheen” from Celebrity Divorce

by Wendy Alton

Sorry, Charlie. As if Charlie Sheen hasn’t had enough “winning” media coverage—he received even more as his divorce with Brooke Mueller was finalized this week. The media has focused solely on money (big surprise), so all news stories have only discussed the amount of the property settlement and monthly child support award.

However, TMZ posted the actual divorce judgment online here: In Re Marriage of Sheen. There are some interesting things to note in that Judgment other than just how much money was awarded.

First, despite the fact that Charlie and Brooke are celebrities, the custody, parenting time and child support provisions of their Judgment look pretty similar to the provisions that are in most “average Joe” divorce judgments, including those that I have drafted. For example, Charlie and Brooke share legal custody of their 2 year old boys, Bob & Max. While Brooke has sole physical custody, the parenting time is pretty equally shared. Brooke and Charlie share all holidays and have equal vacation time with the kids. They also agreed to allow the other to take the kids out of state without advance written permission from each other. Charlie must provide health insurance for the boys, and Brooke and Charlie agree to equally share the cost of any of the kids’ extra-curricular activities. Brooke and Charlie also agree that neither can make unilateral decisions about where the boys attend school, but if private school is chosen, Charlie will pay the tuition. Those are pretty “normal” provisions in any divorce.

One of the more interesting and unique provisions in the Judgment involves child support. Brooke was awarded $55,000 per month (yes, per month) for child support for the boys. The Judgment goes on to state that Brooke’s child support shall never be less than the child support that Charlie Sheen pays to his other ex-wife, Denise Richards. The Judgment continues, stating that Charlie and Brooke both recognize that Denise has more assets and earning capacity then Brooke, and that Denise’s children have trust funds, while Brooke’s children do not. Thus, the absolute minimum child support that Brooke will receive will never be less than child support paid to Denise. This is a pretty interesting provision because it provides a base child support number without consideration of income or parenting time. This would be a difficult provision to enforce in Michigan.

What else is noteworthy in this Judgment? Well, Brooke signed a prenup or “Premarital Agreement” on May 27, 2008, before she married Charlie. The Divorce Judgment abides by this prenup, which means that Brooke receives zero spousal support. Yes, Brooke waived her right to alimony now and forever. While that may be surprising in this divorce to waive alimony, it is pretty common in most divorces.

Anything else stick out? Brooke agrees to never talk to the media about Charlie’s alleged sexual affairs and alleged drug use, and Charlie agrees never to talk to the media about Brooke’s alleged drug use. Interesting.

By taking a closer look at Charlie and Brooke’s Divorce Judgment, one can easily see that despite their celebrity status, Charlie and Brooke’s issues are resolved in a pretty standard way.

If you are interested in learning more about child support, divorce or family law, please call Wendy Alton at 248-380-9976 or email her at

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