Clint and Dina Eastwood Divorce – Dina Going Back to Work?

It was recently revealed that Clint Eastwood and his 2nd wife, Dina Eastwood, are getting a divorce. Dina originally filed for Legal Separation, but last month, amended the case to a Dissolution. According to TMZ.com, Dina is asking for spousal support, custody of the parties’ 16 year old child (who is Clint’s 8th child) and that Clint pay her attorney fees and costs. TMZ.com also recently reported that Dina has gone back to her previous job as a news anchor, with a Monterey station, KSBW. It appears that Dina may be worried about how she is going to support herself following the divorce. That may seem odd, considering how much money Clint likely has, but most likely the parties’ had a pre-nuptial agreement, which could limit the amount of support Dina will receive, if any. Even without a prenuptial agreement, following a divorce, where one spouse is the higher, or sole earner, the other spouse is not simply entitled to collect spousal support without making efforts to become self-supporting. Even if you were married to Clint Eastwood.

In California, there is a public policy that following the dissolution of marriage, both parties should make efforts to become self-supporting. Gone are the days where a Wife could rely on her Husband to support her after a divorce. This is true even when a Wife, or Husband, has been out of the workforce for many years, whether due to raising children or as otherwise agreed between the spouses. Now, California courts have the power to order a person who is not working or who may be underemployed to search for employment. Although the Court in most cases will give the unemployed or lower earning spouse time to find a job and become self-supporting, if the party ordered to search for employment does not make reasonable efforts, or fails to find a job after a certain period of time, the court has the power to impute income to that person, depending on the circumstances.

California courts can also impute income to a party who fails to seek work for purposes of child support. This is because both parties have an equal obligation to support their minor child(ren). For child support purposes, however, the court’s discretion is limited because the court must find that is in the best interests of the children to impute income to a custodial parent. Given the current state of the law, this means that even though Dina Eastwood will likely receive significant child support for the parties 16 year old child, she still has an obligation to contribute to the child’s support. If Dina didn’t go back to work, and Clint asked, the court could ultimately impute income to Dina, presumably at her previous earnings as a news anchor.

Spousal and child support issues can be confusing and difficult to understand. At Mello & Pickering, LLP, we can let you know what your rights may be, whether you are the spouse paying support, or the spouse who is seeking support. Give us a call at (408) 288-7800 or email us at mpllp@sjfamilylaw.com to set up a free 20 minute phone consultation or a one hour in person appointment.