The most recent season of Real Housewives of Orange County was extremely divorce heavy. The show that premiered back in 2006 is still thriving not because of successful marriages, but a lack thereof.
I have watched this Bravo reality series for years and hate to admit I have seen every episode (insert the monkey emoji covering up the eyes here). I have gasped as the women have called each other awful names, thrown drinks in faces, threatened lawsuits, and ran away when they couldn’t take the social scrutiny. I watch the show because I love the idea of studying people. I think if I were to go back to my Anthropology 101 class I took back in college, I would have a new appreciation for it. I always vow to never commit the crimes of the housewives in Orange County. Side note, I once worked for a woman who made it very far in the casting process for this show. I had to help her stage the house for her interviews and I always warned her that being on the show would increase her chances of divorce. She didn’t make it on the show and guess what? She is still married! Isn’t that something?
I wouldn’t be the PR gal I say I am if I didn’t use this show to discuss the theme of divorce and what we all can take away from it. This blog post will feature my questions I have regarding all things divorce, marriage, and family law. Catie Young and Amy Lass, who are partners here at Griffith, Young, & Lass will answer my questions as well as elaborate on their thoughts professionally and personally. Cue the show’s intro music, think of your very own tag line, grab an orange, and enjoy the post.
Why do you believe there are a high amount of divorces that occur in the housewives cast?
Catie: I have heard that there is a marriage curse for the cast on this show and to that I say, there were already major issues in the marriages long before the cameras came out. If a marriage is already suffering, then adding a crew to the mix documenting everything is sure to add stress.
Marissa: I do believe joining the cast as a housewife is going to increase the chances of divorce just by what we have seen in the past 14 seasons. Gina’s marriage was already on the rocks when she joined the cast in season 13. By the end of her first season as a cast member, she revealed she and her then husband (Matt) were divorcing. We didn’t even have a chance to see her husband on the show before the marriage was o-v-e-r!
Do you believe the action of the women on the show can have an impact on their lives outside of the show and further cause legal issues?
Amy: I have seen social media damage a party’s character in the family court system. On the flip side, we never see the ladies putting their children in danger.
Catie: To this, I say yes and no, let me explain. I would say a perfect example is Tamra, her relationship with her daughter suffered because of being on the show and the difficulty of co-parenting with her ex who was not a fan of the show. I agree with Amy on her response to this question. We never see these mamas putting their kids in danger. For the most part, they try to keep their kids out of the drama.
Marissa: I love getting feedback from attorney’s and RHOC fans like myself. I would think their behavior could cause some legal issues. Let me use Kelly Dodd as an example. In the past season, Vicki Gunvalson (who is now only a “friend” on the show rather than a cast member) made comments about Kelly doing cocaine. This caused quite a ripple effect because Kelly co-parents with her ex-husband and shares 50/50 custody of her daughter, Jolie. Vicki’s lose lips could have caused major issues and changes in her parenting plan if Michael (Kelly’s ex-husband) wanted to return to court. Anyways, I agree with Catie and Amy when they say the women do not put their children in danger. How many times did we hear Kelly yell “You hurt my daughter!” to Vicki. Kelly is a mama bear wanting to protect her daughter from any backlash she could face.
What are your thoughts on Emily and Shane’s marriage?
Amy: What I love about Emily is her willingness to be f#%*ing real. Marriage is work, every day. Emily practiced family law and knows the other side of it. Perhaps she is choosing to work on her marriage and doing so on national television makes her rad in my book.
Marissa: You know what? I love Emily! She is real and a good friend. She cares deeply about her children and she is willing to recognize her own flaws within herself and she is working on them (her anger problems). I think Shane refuses to play a part and be someone he is not. I don’t think he loves being on camera and is uncomfortable. I do worry when Emily says that most of the time, he is a bad husband. In my opinion, life is too short to live in such misery. I think they need to be all in on repairing their marriage and going to couples counseling or call it quits. I don’t know if they will make it a few more seasons.
What about Gina and Matt wanting to reconcile during divorce proceedings?
Catie: I have had several cases where either the husband or wife is not quite ready to take the plunge. One of my first questions in any consultation is to ask if the couple has tried therapy and I ask if there is any desire for reconciliation. It’s a new chapter and it’s extremely difficult to close one door, but often parties have given it everything before walking through our doors.
Amy: Reconciliation happens. As divorce attorneys we are always happy to hear of parties reconciling and wish them the best. Unfortunately, clients sometimes return for round two (sometimes round three and four). If Gina and Matt dismiss the divorce its business as usual as a married couple and the duration of their marriage continues.
Marissa: I just wanted to burry my face in my hands when Emily would say she believed Matt really changed. Based on what Gina?? He watched Gina accept their relationship was coming to an end and she aimed to find her own happiness. He was threatened by that and tried to reclaim his territory. In the reunion it is revealed their divorce was finalized. Not surprised at all. Gina is in a new relationship. She is in love and it looks amazing on her.
What words of wisdom would you offer Shannon as she goes back to court to fight for her spousal support?
Catie: No payor (husband or wife) wants to pay their ex support indefinitely and will be rushing back to court to get it modified downward. California courts wants both parties to become self-supporting with a reasonable period. It’s always a good idea to come up with a game plan, decide what your career goals are and plan to come up with achieving the set goals. The court likes to see the recipient of the support is wanting to become self-supporting.
Amy: Shannon is in the thick of litigation on the issue of spousal support—a hotly litigated issue in family law and here’s why: an intact marriage uses one income earned to support ONE home. When a married couple separates, the income needs to support two homes and both parties tend to have the same spending habits. It is impossible and the court is left with an even more possible decision of deciding how much support the supported party will receive to support his/her needs. The good news is Shannon seems like a strong and ambitious woman who will rise to the occasion and continue bring in her own dough.