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Stevie Wonder files for divorce, asks for joint custody

Stevie Wonder and his wife Kai Millard will reportedly be calling it quits after 11 years of marriage. He filed for divorce on July 26 in the couple's home state of California. Married in 2001, the couple separated in 2009. In his filing, Stevie Wonder cited irreconcilable differences.

Stevie Wonder also requested joint custody of the couple's two children, though he agreed to pay child and spousal support to his wife. It isn't clear how much will be at stake in the property division aspect of the divorce, but it will certainly be a high asset divorce.

In California, property division follows the default rule of community property, which holds that any assets earned or acquired during the marriage are split in half. Couples can, of course, negotiate an alternate agreement either through a prenuptial agreement or during the divorce itself. In the event a couple cannot agree, courts in community property states fall back on the default 500-50 rule.

New York's default rule is not community property, but equitable distribution. In this approach, assets are not necessarily divided equally, but the goal is to achieve a fair distribution. Fairness is determined by a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, custody considerations, and fault.

It isn't known whether Stevie Wonder and his wife have a prenuptial agreement. If they do, property division will be a relatively straightforward process. If they do not, and cannot agree on an arrangement, the court in their case will order the default 50-50 split.

Source: Reuters, "Stevie Wonder's Divorce Papers Filed, Seeks Joint Custody," Deanne Katz, Esq., August 3, 2012

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