Actor Charlie Sheen has filed for divorce from his third wife, Brooke Mueller. The divorce papers, filed in Los Angeles on Monday, cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution of their marriage and indicated that the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place to govern property division and alimony in the high-asset divorce. He is also seeking joint custody of the couple’s twin sons.
Mueller has responded by filing her own petition for divorce the same day. She is seeking sole custody of the twins and has asked for spousal support.
Prenup’s Effect on Alimony Unclear; Child Custody Not Governed by Agreement
Under California law, financial matters in an ordinary or high-asset divorce, such as the division of assets and whether there will be alimony, can be governed by a valid prenuptial agreement. Sheen’s divorce petition appears to indicate that the couple has a prenuptial agreement, but it is unclear whether alimony was included in that agreement.
In his petition, Sheen specifically asks the court not to award Mueller any spousal support, while Mueller’s petition specifically asks for alimony.
California law does not allow prenuptial agreements to govern child custody matters. As in Georgia, California child custody decisions are made in the best interest of the child.
Sheen’s divorce filing comes just days after the 45-year-old actor was involved in an embarrassing incident in New York, where he was on a family vacation with his second wife, Denise Richards, and their two daughters. Sheen was briefly hospitalized after hotel security reported he was being disorderly, which the press has variously reported may have been related to alcohol or an allergic reaction to medication.
The decision to file for divorce does not appear to be related to that incident, as Sheen and Mueller have been separated since Christmas of 2009, when an altercation took place that led to assault charges being filed against Sheen in Aspen, Colorado.
Sheen pled guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault in a plea arrangement that allowed him to stay out of jail. In exchange for the lesser charges, Sheen agreed to undergo 30 days in an addiction rehabilitation center and take 36 hours of anger management classes. He was also sentenced to 30 days’ probation.
Source: CBS News/Associated Press, “Charlie Sheen-Brooke Mueller: Actor Files for Divorce in LA,” Edecio Martinez, November 2, 2010