You’re (Not) Going to Hollywood with my Child

You’re (Not) Going to Hollywood with my Child

Simon Cowell’s (of American Idol fame) girlfriend and the mother of his child-to-be, Lauren Silverman, recently finalized her divorce in New York.  Click here for details.

According to news outlets, the terms of the divorce require that neither parent “talk trash” about the other parent in front of their child (they are sharing joint custody).  While the article makes it sound salacious, this kind of language is common in California divorce agreements and is often referred to as a “non-disparagement clause”.  In short, both parents agree that they will not talk poorly about the other parent nor allow others within earshot of the children to do so.  If Mr. Cowell’s people put out a press release disparaging Ms. Silverman’s ex, Ms. Silverman will likely get a call from her ex-husband’s lawyers.

According to reports, the agreement goes so far as to state that Mr. Cowell cannot even spend time with Ms. Silverman’s child.  If he does, she will have to pay $50,000 to Mr. Silverman.  This might make future Cowell family gatherings difficult as Mr. Cowell and Ms. Silverman are expecting a child in February 2014.  The half-siblings will not be able to be in the same room if Mr. Cowell is present.

Reports also suggest that the reason for the divorce is being changed to “the marriage had ‘broken down irretrievably'” from the more specific announcement of adultery.  This would not be an issue if the divorce occurred in California.  California is a no-fault state and the inclusion of specific bad acts, or misconduct, are improper and inadmissible in pleadings.  See Family Code Section 2335. Separating couples in California (if not a void or voidable marriage) can choose from “irreconcilable differences” or “incurable insanity”.  Adultery is not an option.

If you have questions about specific terms to include in your custody/visitation agreement, be sure you speak with a qualified family law attorney.