Although I hesitate to provide Kim Kardashian or her family any more attention than they already receive for their multiple television shows and daily media appearances, the divorce between Kim Kardashian and her husband Kris Humphries is a “real life” example of a recent post on Iowa Family Law Bulletin.  Many couples face the situation Kardashian and Humphries are currently experiencing, when only one person in the relationship wants to divorce.

Divorce v. Annulment

Unfortunately for Ms. Kardashian, Mr. Humphries appears to be stalling their divorce.  The couple was married in August of 2011.  Kardashian filed for divorce very soon after.  Kardashian is apparently hoping for a straightforward divorce, while Humphries is claiming that their wedding (which was televised and received much media scrutiny) was a fraud.  The couple had a prenuptial agreement and have no children together.  Arguably, their divorce litigation should not take this long.

Kardashian and her publicity/legal team claim foot-dragging and stall tactics by Humphries, including a strange choice by Humphries to deliver a deposition request to Kardashian’s current boyfriend, Kanye West, rather than the more accepted practice of delivery to his attorney’s office.  However, Humphries’ legal team argues that Kardashian has not produced certain financial records needed to prepare for depositions.

Iowa Annulment Law

In this particular situation, Humphries is requesting an annulment while Kardashian is requesting a divorce.  In Iowa, causes for an annulment are governed by Iowa Code Section 598.29.  This section states that a marriage may be annulled for the following causes:

  1.  Where the marriage between the parties is prohibited by law.
  2. Where either party was impotent at the time of marriage.
  3. Where either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage, provided they have not, with a knowledge of such fact, lived and cohabited together after the death or marriage dissolution of the former spouse of such party.
  4. Where either party was a ward under a guardianship and was found by the court to lack the capacity to contract a valid marriage.

Fraud as a Cause for Annulment

Unfortunately, there is not much being reported on the specific legal argument Mr. Humphries is relying upon, however, it seems that he believes he was used by Kardashian for television ratings.  Kardashian says that she married Humphries for love, however, got “caught up in the hoopla.”

A trial is not expected in the case until next year, and it does not appear that a settlement is likely at this point.  One thing is certain – when and if there is a trial, there will be no lack of media coverage!


Witherspoon Bigamy Case Developments

As previously blogged about here on the Iowa Family Law Bulletin, actress Reese Witherspoon’s mother, Betty Witherspoon, has petitioned a Tennessee court to annul a marriage between her husband of 42 years and his new wife, Tricianne Taylor.  Betty and John Witherspoon separated in the mid 1990′s, however, have remained in contact with one another, even attending family events together.  They are not divorced.

Family Concerns for John Witherspoon

Betty and the Witherspoon children, including Reese Witherspoon, appear to be very concerned with John’s mental state claiming that he suffers from dementia and alcoholism.  They claim that Witherspoon’s new wife is taking advantage of him by applying for loans and apparently making changes to his will.  John reportedly told Betty that he did not remember marrying Tricianne.  John Witherspoon is in a conservatorship, but apparently, this has not prevented Tricianne Taylor from allegedly becoming a part of John’s financial life.  Tricianne strongly denies the accusations made against her.

Judge Appoints Lawyer to Conduct Investigation

A new development  occurred in the case when a Tennessee judge appointed a lawyer to investigate the events in John’s life that Betty and the rest of the Witherspoon family are alleging.  The hearing scheduled for later this week has been indefinitely postponed.

Media Petitions Court for Access

Reese has been attending court hearings with her father, however, the judge in the case has barred all media presence in the courtroom.  However, a local television station has petitioned the court to unseal the filings in the case and make all future filings and hearings accessible by the media.  This motion has been set for hearing on June 25, 2012.


Reese Witherspoon’s Mother Files Petition to Annul Alleged Bigamous Marriage of her Husband

On May 8th, Actress Reese Witherspoon’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon, filed a petition for annulment in a Nashville, TN Court.  According to the Washington Post , Witherspoon alleges that she is still married to her husband, John Witherspoon, and that he has married another woman, Tricianne Taylor, who may be taking advantage of him.

Betty, as Mary Elizabeth is known, is also alleging that John has had quite a few personal problems such as alcoholism and some professional misfortune that has led him to be vulnerable to Ms. Taylor.  Betty also believes John may be experiencing dementia.  Ms. Taylor has had John sign a new will, and is attempting to take out bank loans under the name Tricianne Witherspoon.

When confronted by Betty about his January 2012 nuptials, John claims to not remember marrying Tricianne.  Although Betty and John have been separated since 1996, neither has filed for dissolution of their marriage, according to Betty.  Betty does not desire a divorce at this time.

She is, in addition to petitioning the court for an annulment of the marriage between John and Tricianne, asking the court to order Tricianne to return all assets and move out of residences owned by the family.  A hearing has been set for May 31st, 2012 in Davidson County Circuit Court in Tennessee.

Bigamy in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 726.1 lists Bigamy as a serious misdemeanor.  According to the statute, any person with a living husband or wife who marries another commits the crime of Bigamy.  There are several defenses to Bigamy however, including, if the first marriage was terminated or the person reasonably believes the first marriage was terminated, the person reasonably believes their first spouse is dead, or if for 3 years, there has been no evidence that their spouse is alive.