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House Flippers See Their Marriage Flop

divorce family attorney SDTarek El Moussa, half of the power couple who stars in the HGTV reality show Flip or Flop, has filed for divorce from Christina, his wife of nearly eight years.

Rumblings of a separation hit the media in December 2016, but the couple’s trouble datesback to May. They worked to keep the news private as they continued filming their show, which debuted in April 2013.

“Lots of couples prefer to keep their marital difficulties private, and I can imagine it was doubly important for the El Moussas, given the fact that they have a television reality show,” says San Diego family lawyer John Griffith, who does not represent the couple.

E! News reported that a handful of new episodes will be filmed this year to fulfill contractual obligations, and then Flip or Flop will end.

It appears that the beginning of the end occurred on May 23, 2016 when police were called to the El Moussa’s home. Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a call of a possibly suicidal male with a gun, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

An unnamed witness saw Tarek El Moussa remove a gun from a safe, and said “he seemed upset and when she tried to talk to him, he would not respond,” an incident report states. He put the gun in his backpack and left the home.

Deputies found him on a hiking trail. At the time, Tarek El Moussa said he went hiking to “blow off some steam” and took a firearm for protection because of mountain lions and rattlesnakes. He agreed to voluntarily turn over all of his firearms to law enforcement for safekeeping for 30 days. Deputies removed five guns from the premises.

Another reason for keeping the separation out of the public eye could be to protect their children, Griffith says. The couple has a 1-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.

“There’s a possibility that they’re trying to keep their children from being involved and emotionally harmed,” he says. “Many parents go to great lengths to shield children from the ugly side of separation and divorce.”

Finally, just as any married couple who owns and operates a business together can attest, couples often keep marital troubles quiet for fear of the news having an adverse effect on their business. In addition to costarring in a TV show that likely is a significant source of income for them, the El Moussas run a real estate agency in Orange County, California.

Following is the statement the El Moussas released when news of their separation became public:

“Like many couples, we have had challenges in our marriage. We had an unfortunate misunderstanding about six months ago and the police were called to our house in an abundance of caution. There was no violence and no charges were filed. During the process, we are committed to our kids and being the best parents we can be. We will continue to work through this process civilly and cooperatively, and plan to continue our professional life together.”

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Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.


Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.


Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
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