As could have been predicted, rumors are that Letterman’s wife wants a divorce. If so, I’ll be watching with interest as his case would touch on a couple of issues I’ve written about recently. I had written about whether or not Hugh Hefner’s wife could use “adultery” as grounds, and I’ve described how property division is handled in Tennessee. So how would a Tennessee court handle this situation?
Just for fun and discussion I’m going to assume there was no prenuptial agreement.
The stories on the internet make much of the fact that Dave and Regina have had a relationship for many years. However, they’ve only been married since March of 2009, so the acutal marriage is very short and it’s the length of the marriage that matters.
While her lawyer could make a passionate plea to the judge about how she gave up her life to devote herself to this man and blah blah blah. The fact is that when you file for divorce, the court requires that you submit the date of the marriage and the date of separation. The court isn’t interested in your first date, your first kiss, or how long you were BFFs before the wedding.
However, they have a child. This means there will be child support to consider, and for many people that can be a real financial issue. However, in Tennessee our current guidelines favor people of high income by taking a lower percentage of their earnings. In fact, if your income is more than $10,000 per month, the guidelines don’t consider any income beyond that level.
New York has a just passed new child support legislation that has a similar effect. This means that Regina will have to convince the court that the child has become used to, and deserves to continue, a lifestyle that is impossible to support on such minimal child support payments.
While the tabloids are all claiming a divorce might cost Dave “millions”, I think that’s unlikely if the case were to go to trial. The actual result I’m expecting is a quiet settlement that’s sufficient to keep Regina from writing a book or showing up on every talk show that would have her.