Steven Fernandez |

Child Custody, Divorce, Prenup, Property Division

It has been more than two months since accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein began to surface. Since the initial accuser stepped forward, nearly 100 women, including some of the most famous actresses in the country, have accused the Hollywood producer of some kind of sexual misconduct. Some of these allegations involve incidents of minor harassment, while others paint a darker picture involving forcible rape. Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, must surely be considering filing for divorce from her disgraced husband. However, Chapman has been silent over the past couple of months and has not really made any indications that she will file for divorce soon.

What would cause Georgina Chapman, or someone in her situation, to prolong the inevitable? Why would a spouse, when confronted with such overwhelming evidence and information of misconduct, wait to file for divorce? There are a few plausible reasons for Chapman’s hesitation.

She’s Waiting to See What Happens

No criminal charges have formally been filed against Weinstein for his alleged sexual misconduct. This is partly because many of his accusers have stepped forward about criminal sexual abuse that occurred decades ago. California imposes a statute of limitations for sex crimes which, in most situations, is 10 years. This means that Weinstein cannot be prosecuted for criminal acts that happened more than 10 years ago. Other allegations against Weinstein that do fall within the statute of limitations are being investigated and may result in formal criminal charges.

Chapman may be waiting to see what, if any, criminal charges are filed against Weinstein. This will allow her to have a better understanding of what she can expect in a divorce. If Weinstein is charged and/or convicted of a crime Chapman can use it as leverage to secure better terms in her divorce. This includes securing sole custody of the child she shares with Weinstein.

The Divorce Will Be Complex

Chapman and Weinstein are both millionaires in their own right. Together, they have a marital estate that is almost unbelievable. Getting divorced requires assigning, allocating, and eventually dividing marital assets. In California, both spouses are entitled to half of the marital estate. However, Chapman and Weinstein do have a prenuptial agreement. The terms contained in this agreement will supersede any general California law about the division of their assets.

In addition to simply having a massive marital estate, the couple has residences in and legal ties to multiple states. This means that each state’s divorce laws may play a role in their divorce proceedings. Each state has unique laws and Chapman will need to make sure that her attorneys can navigate the process with confidence. It can take time to determine which state’s laws are most beneficial.

She May Be Gathering Evidence

If Chapman was worried that Weinstein’s loyalty may wander during their marriage she may have insisted on inserting a “bad boy” or “infidelity” clause in their prenup. An infidelity clause essentially punishes one spouse for cheating during a marriage. Chapman may need hard evidence that Weinstein has cheated on her during their marriage. The more information she has, the stronger her case will be, so she may be taking her time and gathering all of the evidence she can find.

She’s Already Negotiating the Terms of the Divorce

Just because Chapman hasn’t formally filed for divorce does not mean that she isn’t aggressively putting together the terms of their split. In fact, Chapman was spotted shopping for divorce attorneys shortly after news about Weinstein broke. Rather than battle everything out in the public eye, Chapman may want to put together all of the pieces of the puzzle privately. She may have information about Weinstein that would hurt him publicly. She may be able to use this information to negotiate better terms behind closed doors.

Divorce is a complicated process and should not be rushed. Chapman is likely taking her time in order to make sure that she walks away from her marriage to Weinstein with the majority of the marital assets and a favorable custody arrangement. She knows that the divorce will likely be contested by Weinstein at every turn and the source of much public debate. As a result, she is taking her time and making sure that it is done right.

Thinking about getting a divorce? Call the Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Fernandez & Karney to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, explain the steps involved in filing for divorce, and answer the questions you have.