In 2003, people in California and across the country wondered whether basketball star Kobe Bryant’s marriage was on the brink of ending. A 19-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault. While Bryant admitted to committing adultery, he insisted it was consensual. Throughout the scandal, Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, stood by him, saying the pair would work out their marital problems together.
The charges against him were eventually dropped, and Kobe and Vanessa seemingly moved on. Sometimes, however, despite the most sincere efforts, a couple decides they would both be happier leading separate lives. This weekend, reports emerged announcing that Vanessa had filed for divorce from the Lakers’ star player. The two had been married for 10 years.
It is not clear what sparked the split, but the pair released a statement saying decisions were being made privately, and their marriage will be dissolved in 2012.
Divorce, however, is not quite so simple. As any couple in California who has been through a divorce knows, many decisions need to be made. The Bryants have two daughters, ages 8 and 5, so child custody arrangements will need to be made. According to court documents, both Vanessa and Kobe requested joint legal and physical custody.
Property division is also a significant part of many divorce settlements. As we discussed in a recent post, California is a community property state, meaning that assets are split equally between divorcing spouses, unless a prenuptial agreement was signed. While it is not uncommon for celebrities to have a prenup, reports so far have indicated that the Bryants do not, meaning Vanessa would receive 50 percent of the money Kobe made playing for the Lakers.
Source: ABC News, “Kobe Bryant’s Wife Vanessa Files for Divorce,” Dec. 17, 2011