10 Years After Divorce, Michael Douglas’s Wife Sues for Income from 2010 Movie

Actor Michael Douglas and then-wife Diandra Douglas divorced ten years ago in California.  She got $50 million from their marital estate and the divorce decree said that she would continue to receive money from revenue Michael got from movies he made during their marriage.  In other words, if there was an income stream from those movies after the decree was signed, she’d get half. That was in 2000.  It’s now 2011, and she’s gone back to court demanding more.  Read about it here (Business Week, 4/12/11). Oh, I know what you’re thinking.  “He’s been holding out on her.  He’s received income from one of those movies and isn’t paying her what she’s entitled to.” 
Sorry, but you’re wrong. She’s not asking for money from the movies he made during their marriage.  She’s asking for money from a movie made long after they were divorced.  Ten years after, to be exact. So how does she figure she’s entitled to that?  Well, the particular movie is Douglas’s 2010 sequel to “Wall Street,” entitled “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” in which a barely-chastened Gordon Gekko makes his return. I still know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking “what claim could she possibly have on his income from a movie that was made 10 years after they divorced?”  Maybe you’re also thinking “how greedy can one person be?”  Or, “isn’t $50 million enough?” The answers to those questions are as follows: “probably none,” “who knows?” and “you’d think so but some people are just so needy.” As to the first, a court will decide the matter, and by everything that’s sane, should toss her out on her ear with an order to pay Michael’s attorneys fees and court costs.  We’ll see about that. But in the meantime, she’s filed the claim, not in California, but in New York, which raises the question “why?”  After all, as most divorce decrees do, theirs recites that the California court that issued the decree retains jurisdiction of the matter. So, a New York judge dismissed her claim last November due to lack of jurisdiction.  Undeterred, she’s tried again, filing the same claim in the same court. Now, what that means is that there’s a reason other than stupidity why her attorney keeps filing in New York.  And we may all make book on the fact that the reason is that she thinks she’s got a better shot at cashing in with a New York judge applying New York law. We’ll keep an eye on this one.  But any ruling more generous to Diandra than outright dismissal with an order that she pay costs will place this case in the pantheon of insane family court decisions right along with all those thousands of others.

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