Johnny Depp and You
Johnny Depp was divorced in 2017. So, why are we writing about it now? Because the divorce, the circumstances, the accusations, and the findings are back in the news. Today.
Why? Because Johnny Depp is in court [again] to sue Amber Heard for defamation [again] in Virginia after losing, spectacularly, a very public, media saturated trial in London in 2020. Then the appeal in 2021.
A quick recap: Depp and Heard were divorced after Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse.
Heard got a $7 million settlement, but the accusations kept getting louder and louder. The Sun in London was particularly keen to publish every sordid detail, quoting Heard extensively.
In 2019, Depp sued The Sun and Heard for defamation. He lost the defamation suit. In its opinion the Court, in essence, confirmed he was an abuser. He appealed. That decision came down in May 2021. He lost. The appellate judge not only ruled against him, he called him an abuser in the opinion. It was a vicious opinion.
From the first trial through the coming weeks, everything – absolutely everything – about his marriage and personal life and his alleged abuse was and will be repeated over and over and over in court.
If anyone managed to miss the story and the allegations and the judgments the first few times around, they’ll certainly be up to speed in a couple of weeks.
Why? Because trials are public and the courtroom is a bullhorn. Sometimes, they’re televised.
Every time Depp goes to court, the world sits up and notices and are reminded of what he was accused of doing. Along with the earlier court decisions confirming it. After a court case the notoriety fades. It would be gone now if Depp had just let the London case go.
As an attorney covering the London trial said, “the trial had the effect of placing the damning allegation at the heart of the case — that Mr. Depp is a ‘wife beater’ — into a giant global megaphone. As a result of the trial, millions more people have been made aware of The Sun’s allegation than would have been the case if Mr. Depp had not sued.”
Now more will know: he’ll be in the news for weeks and none of it will be good.
Why are we writing about this? Because we recommend that clients try to work things out in mediation – nice and quiet and private.
A little mediation would have gone a long, long way for Johnny Depp.
Mediation is worth it. Mediation worked during the COVID lockdowns and it works just fine now.
The Blame Game
The Blame Game is what they called divorce in England and Wales before today, April 6, 2022.
Today’s the day that no-fault divorce goes into effect.
Before 12:01 this morning (GMT) anyone in England or Wales who wanted to divorce in anything like a timely manner had to accuse their partner in a divorce petition “of desertion, adultery or unreasonable behaviour.”
The alternatives were (a) if both partners agreed to a divorce they had to spend two years apart, (b) if one spouse objected to the split, it was five years. It really wasn’t (and still isn’t) financially possible to wait two years, never mind five.
Couples had a decision to make if they wanted to divorce and move on with their lives: who would take the blame. Someone had to, or it was wait. Draining financially, emotionally, and it left the children in limbo.
Here’s something most of humankind shares – no one wants to take the blame for something they didn’t do. No one wants their great-great grandchildren finding out on Ancestry.com that grand grandpop “abandoned the family . . . or committed adultery . . . or engaged in unreasonable behavior.” Because that’s went on the record. Forever.
It’s unsurprising, then, that the need to assign blame added unwanted stress to an already emotional process. It made things messier. Nastier.
From Sky News: “Sarah Gregory and her ex-husband, who she said was her ‘best friend and soul mate’, went through the divorce system after 13 years of marriage. Ms. Gregory told Sky News that what should have been a straightforward divorce ended up being complicated by the old legislation.
“You were given five options and only one really was suitable for us which was the unreasonable behaviour and again it didn’t really suit our needs because we simply fell out of love. It made things worse, knowing that one of us was going to have unreasonable behaviour on our divorce certificate. It delayed the process because it brought up some mixed feelings between us.
“We didn’t have many bad things in our marriage so you’re almost trying to exaggerate some of the not so nasty things that happened between us. I guess it just kind of created some kind of animosity between us both.”
A prominent barrister told The Independent that the no-fault divorce “legalisation is great” and would have made her divorce proceedings a much quicker process. “You hear so many stories of people coming out of divorce being utterly bereft with huge mental health issues, that can lead to debts and it can lead to the further breakdown of relationships within the family – whether that’s extended family or whether it’s the relationship between a parent and a child.
“If you have a more amicable way of approaching divorce you avoid all of those problems.”
I love that last line. We, obviously, have no-fault divorce in Washington State. We also have ‘a more amicable of approaching divorce’ – mediation.
Talk to us about it. It’s worth it.
These posts are written in collaboration with our valued friends and colleagues. We welcome your ideas for future musings.