Dennis Quaid’s Wife Files for Divorce

Kimberly Buffington-Quaid, has filed for divorce from her actor husband, Dennis Quaid due to a “conflict of personalities.” According to the divorce petition, Kimberly asked for spousal support and attorney's fees. However, in response to her Petition, Dennis says he wants Kimberly to get nothing.

Will Kimberly ultimately receive the spousal support she requested over Dennis’ objection?

In California, Family Code §4330 provides that in a judgment of dissolution or legal separation the court may order a party to pay spousal support to the other in any amount, and for any period of time, that the court deems just and reasonable. The trial court has great discretion in setting the amount and duration for long-term spousal support. Family Code §4320 provides a specific list of factors for the court to consider.

Pursuant to Family Code §4320, in making its award for spousal support, the court will consider the standard of living established during the marriage. Given Dennis’ station in life as a highly paid actor, the expectation would be that the couple’s standard of living was high. The temporary order gives Kimberly possession of the main residence and the Mercedes and Dennis gets a condo and the Cadillac Escalade, with the two having to cooperate over the use of the Range Rover. As a Hollywood actor, Mr. Quaid, likely possesses the ability to pay, another factor the court will consider. Ability to pay is based on the party’s actual income, and we can assume Mr. Quaid’s income is quite high. Based on Dennis’ Hollywood status, Kimberly should be entitled to spousal support. But for how long will the support last?

The length of the marriage is the primary factor for determining duration of support. Dennis married Kimberly Buffington-Quaid in 2004. California makes a distinction between short-term and long-term marriages. A marriage of ten years or less is considered a short-term marriage and more than ten years is a long-term marriage. The Quaids eight year marriage falls into the short-term category. For a short term marriage, spousal support is likely only payable for one-half of the years of marriage. However, there are many factors that could come into play and ultimately lead the court to decide upon a longer or shorter duration of spousal support.

Chances are Dennis will be paying spousal support to Kimberly, but it may only be for a short time – four years.

Spousal support is a common issue for many of our clients at Mello & Pickering, LLP. If you have questions about spousal support, or any other family law issue, give us a call to set up a free 20 minute telephone conference or an in person meeting at (408) 288–7800.