Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Says Kevin Costner’s Divorce Shows Common Problem With Disputes Over Who Gets the House
Actor claims estranged wife won’t leave house unless he agrees to demands
A legal dispute between actor Kevin Costner and his estranged wife over the family house shows a common problem that arises in divorce cases, according to longtime family law attorney Alphonse Provinziano.
In court filings, Costner alleges that his wife, Christine Baumgartner, is refusing to leave the family home near Santa Barbara even though it was included as his pre-marital asset in a pre-nuptial agreement. He says that she won’t leave unless he agrees to certain other demands in the divorce.
“In California, both parties have a right to remain in the home until the divorce is finalized, even in situations where the property belongs to one of them, which can lead to some tense situations,” said Provinziano. “In this case, it appears that one side is using that as leverage in the financial negotiations of the divorce.”
Pre-nuptial agreements in California are not enforceable until a court reviews the terms and looks at the family’s current financial situation. In some cases, part or all of an agreement may be determined to be too restrictive to be enforced, especially in long-term marriages and those where one spouse has more income and assets.
Provinziano said that the best course of action for Costner would be to file a motion for exclusive use and control over the house, which could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to be heard in court. Alternately, he file a case to enforce the pre-nuptial agreement, which would result in a costly trial that could take up to a year to resolve.
“Resolving a dispute like this in court will cost you time, money and stress, and you still might not win,” added Provinziano. “In some divorces, one side will try to use that as leverage to push for concessions on other issues. It’s typically a sign of a more hardball negotiating style, which leads to a more drawn-out and contentious divorce, but it can be countered with patient and skillful lawyering.”