I really love how the media can spin something and make it a headline story.
The actor and former California governor is trying to get out of paying spousal support to his soon-to-be ex-wife, Maria Shriver, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap Thursday.
In a court filing, Robert Kaufman, an attorney for the "True Lies" star, asked a judge to suspend court-ordered payments to Shriver.
Now, as a soon-to-be former California family attorney (just waiting for some cases to clear so I can go on inactive status), I read this and thought, "Wow, have they gone to court already?" I was thrown off by the language that Kaufman asked a judge "to suspend court-ordered payments to Shriver." In my lexicon o' lawyers, that means she went to court for temprary orders for spousal support, got it, and now Ahnold is filing his own motion to stop them.
Terminator . . . Skeletor . . . fight!!!
And I was wrong. Let me explain this headline and tell you why it's a *yawn*.
To start a divorce - actually, the proper term is dissolution of marriage - Maria filed a Petition. Think of a Petition as a Christmas wish list: it tells the court what issues are before the Court, i.e., whether there are minor children, or separate property, etc., and it tells the Court what the Petitioner hopes to get from the disso (be like the cool attorney kids and use the shorthand term "disso"). Maria checked a box - that's all - that says she ants the Court to order spousal support to her. That's it. Not how much, just that she wants it.
The other spouse - now called the Respondent because he is responding to the Petition - files his Response and Request for Dissolution of Marriage. The Response and the Petition are virtually identical. In his, Arnold checked a box - no mas - saying he wants the Court to terminate (yup, actual term, no pun intended) the Court's jurisdiction to award Maria spousal support.
So the Petition and the Response only serve to tell the Court what each party wants. And, as my late father, the Great Frank Martin, was fond of saying, "People in Hell want ice water but they're not getting any."
There are no orders yet (okay, some smart ass attorney will say, but Steph, technically the ATROs are in effect, to which I say, shut up, I'm talking about the ones with a judge's signature and ATROs have nothing to do with spousal support) and no future hearings scheduled. If you want to know how I know this, you too can follow the case on the court website: go here and type in case number BD547043 at the bottom of the page.