Amy Pinto and Nanette Kinkade have reportedly struck a deal on how to divide the estate of the late artist, Thomas Kinkade, 54, who died in April. He filed for legal separation from his wife of 28 years and began living with girlfriend Amy Pinto. No formal divorce decree had been issued before the artist died. Since he was still married, Nanette claimed that she was entitled to inherit his property and other assets.
Under California law, a marriage can be terminated or changed in one of three ways:
Legal separation. In essence, a legal separation means that a couple remains technically married, and could theoretically get back together. However, the spouses are entitled to lead completely separate legal lives. Most of the issues settled during a divorce are also addressed in a legal separation. It is often filed before a formal request for a divorce, though it is not a requirement under California law to do so.
Divorce. In California, all divorces are considered no fault dissolution of marriage. You don’t need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to be granted a divorce decree. All you must do is claim irreconcilable differences, meaning that you feel you can no longer get along with your spouse. Unlike legal separation, the marriage is terminated and the divorce cannot be undone once the judgment has been finalized.
Annulment. In essence, an annulment means that legally your marriage never existed. This kind of decree is issued only when you can prove there is a reason for the annulment. Your spouse having concealed the fact that he or she was underage, or already married when your marriage took place, are two solid grounds for annulment. There are many others.
It is vital to obtain the services of a qualified family law attorney to help you protect your rights during a legal separation, divorce or annulment. As the Kincade case shows, one must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Posted in Divorce