Divorces can range from the amicable to the absurd and downright ugly. Individuals who are in the public eye and are seeking a divorce, perhaps more so than the average citizen, need to obtain the advice of a competent attorney early in the process so as not to cause undue damage to their case or their children.
The Divorce of Scott Stapp of Creed
In October, Jaclyn Stapp, the wife of Creed frontman, Scott Stapp, for eight years and mother of their three children, filed for divorce in Palm Beach County. The divorce papers allege that Stapp has abused drugs, shown symptoms of paranoia, and threatened to kill himself and hurt his family. The documents accompanying the divorce filing include text messages from Stapp to his wife telling her to leave Florida and meet him in Atlanta because biological weapons are coming. In other texts, he also appeared to be threatening her and the children with harm. She asked the court to have him admitted to a substance abuse facility.
Mr. Stapp unfortunately took several steps that helped buttress his estranged wife’s legal position in her request for custody of the children. He has posted videos on Facebook claiming to be sober, broke, and living out of his truck. He stated that he was under a vicious attack from unnamed sources who have taken advantage of him, stolen his money, slandered, and threatened him. In addition, he claimed the IRS has frozen his bank accounts and left him penniless. Although Mr. Stapp apparently passed a wellness check administered by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office in November, he more recently was placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold on November 13 after the police discovered him apparently in a drunken or drugged condition, incoherent, and rambling that someone was trying to poison him. Although the Facebook videos were subsequently removed, copies of them can be found elsewhere on the internet. In the latest development, on Thanksgiving, Stapp filed a criminal complaint with the Boca Raton Police Department against his estranged wife, accusing her of stealing his money. As a result of Mr.Stapp’s bizarre behavior, a Florida judge granted Mr. Stapp’s wife sole legal and physical custody of their children and banned him from the family home in mid-December.
While a divorce can be obtained in Florida on a no-fault basis, allegations of drug abuse, erratic behavior, violence or threats of violence, are very relevant when it comes to the determination of child custody, pursuant to Fla. Stat. 61.13. Any parenting plan approved by the court must uphold the best interests of the child, and the mental, emotional, and physical health of the parents is relevant to that determination. The court will consider all evidence relating to the various factors listed in the statute regarding the child’s best interests, whether arising prior to or subsequent to the divorce filing. In the case of celebrity divorces, where the parties’ lives are often lived out in the public eye, it is very important to minimize the impact on a custody case of previous indiscretions as much as possible, as well as to prevent the occurrence of future ones as well.
It cannot be gainsaid that anyone, particularly celebrities, involved in a divorce would be greatly benefited by the advice of a capable divorce attorney, particularly when children are involved. South Florida Divorce Lawyer James S. Cunha has been practicing law for over ten years and has a rating of 10 out of 10 (“Superb”) on Avvo.com. The professional staff at the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. serves the family law needs of clients in Miami-Dade, Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Hendry, and Broward Counties as well as the following communities in Palm Beach County — West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and Delray Beach. Call us today for a consultation at (561) 429-3924.