Family Law Corner: Divorce is the (Peach) Pits for Former Beverly Hills 90210 Actor

Many thought that Brian Austin Green (“Beverly Hills 90210”) was the luckiest guy in the world for marrying Megan Fox (“Transformers” and “Jennifer’s Body”). Unfortunately that luck has run out. After five years of marriage, two children and a total of eleven years together as a couple, Fox filed for divorce and Green responded asking for spousal support.

While it appears that Fox is working more than Green, the reason for this is not just that we can’t forget Green’s alter ego, David Silver. In December 2014, Fox and Green were in a car accident where they were hit by a drunk driver. While Green initially told the press he was unhurt, he has now changed his tune and states that he suffers from vertigo as a result of the accident and is unable to work.

Given Green’s lesser earnings, he is eligible for temporary spousal support under Family Code §3600. Fox may have a hard time accepting this given the 13 year age difference between the two and the fact that they started dating when Fox was 18 years old. A lawsuit against the drunk driver may provide further funds that Green needs right now. He has not filed a lawsuit yet, but is likely to do so. If Green does file the lawsuit, will he have to share the proceeds with Fox?

The characterization (as either community or separate property) of personal injury awards is determined based on when the cause of action arose. Since Fox and Green agree they were a couple at the time of the car accident, the proceeds would be community property. Family Code §781(a), 2063(a). However, just because the proceeds would be community property, does not mean they are automatically divided in half. Under Family Code §2603(b), personal injury proceeds are subject to special treatment and are awarded to the injured spouse unless, after taking into account the “economic condition and needs of each party, the time that has elapsed since the recovery of the damages or the accrual of the cause of action, and all other facts of the case” another division is required.

Whether or not Green moves forward with his lawsuit remains to be seen, but given the circumstances of the parties, he likely will be awarded any resulting proceeds in the divorce, though that might not make up for losing Fox.