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Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Divorce > Halle Berry’s Eight Year Battle Comes to a Resolution: Avoiding Delays in Divorce and Custody Cases

Halle Berry’s Eight Year Battle Comes to a Resolution: Avoiding Delays in Divorce and Custody Cases


Everyone hopes that any tumultuous parts of a divorce will be over quickly, and as painlessly as possible. Some people are luckier than others.

It has recently been reported that after eight years of negotiations, actress Halle Berry and ex-husband Olivier Martinez have come to a final resolution in their divorce and custody case. The actress’s divorce is unique in a few different ways – even though the pair were only married for two years, AND had a prenuptial agreement in place, the resolution of all issues still took longer than most cases – approximately eight years.

So why did Halle Berry’s divorce last so long, and what lessons can you take from this case to help keep your own divorce journey on-track?

Why did this Divorce Case Linger?

Ms. Berry and Mr. Martinex had a signed prenuptial agreement in place. This meant that asset division was relatively easy. However, there are certain items that you cannot address in a prenuptial agreement. In this case, the item at issue was custody over their (then) infant son. Even though the pair had a prenuptial agreement in place that eased complications relating to asset division, the pair still had a lengthy battle before all aspects of their relationship could be resolved because they could not agree to a fair child support and child custody agreement.

What Can You Do to Avoid Delays to Your Divorce?

Ms. Berry and Mr. Martinez actually utilized a very useful tool – they successfully petitioned the California courts to bifurcate – or separate – their legal and formal divorce proceedings from the child custody matter/case. This means that Ms. Berry and Mr. Martinez were able to settle the issues of division of assets and regain their legal “single” status long ago. The only issue that remained (and was recently settled after eight years) was the issue of child custody and child support.

Keeping Your Divorce on Schedule

It is wise to enter into a valid prenuptial, and even post-nuptial, agreement. These agreements can simplify matters of asset division and stop potential legal battles before they ever get off the ground. However, as shown in Ms. Berry’s case above, even valid and fair prenuptial agreements cannot prevent battles in the contentious arenas of child custody and support issues.

While custody is often the most hotly-contested item in a divorce, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of coming through the process quickly and amicably with your ex-spouse.

Respect and Communication

You do not have to like your ex-spouse. But amicable and respectful communication can help you and your spouse navigate through the difficult process of creating a custody arrangement. Remember that your child’s other parent IS a parent. Barring a compelling reason why they should not spend time with your child, you are going to have to come to some kind of visitation/custody arrangement. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the process will linger on and on and eventually control will be wrested from your hands and the courts will make a decision on custody and visitation. Cordial communication, when possible, serves both parties in a custody case. Respect your coparent’s rights: Even if you don’t like your

Engage with an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

Attorneys are legal professionals. Part of their value to you in a divorce and custody case is in helping you to ensure that you take appropriate steps from day one. Engaging with an experienced attorney early in the divorce process can help you to ensure that you know exactly where you are in the process, what you need to do next, and that you avoid common pitfalls that can result in court and processing delays.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young

Our experienced team has helped many clients navigate through contentious divorce and custody cases. Our esteemed San Francisco divorce lawyers are here to ensure you know your rights, and understand what steps you can take to ensure you end your divorce and custody case with the best possible resolution.




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