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Stephen Collins and wife finalize divorce settlement

Actor Stephen Collins made headlines late last year amid his divorce from his wife, actress Faye Grant, when a tape surfaced in which the former "7th Heaven" star was reportedly heard admitting in a 2012 therapy session to engaging in inappropriate contact with underage girls. Although his estranged wife acknowledged that she recorded the session, she has denied leaking the tape to the media. She did, however, mention the incidents in her divorce filing.

The tape cost the veteran actor professionally and financially. In addition to losing planned work, reruns of "7th Heaven" were pulled from syndication. His attorney asserted last year that Collins could no longer afford his $13,000 monthly spousal support payments to Grant. Since the tape was made public, Collins has admitted to inappropriate behavior with three girls between 1973 and 1994.

Now, just ahead of their scheduled divorce trial that likely would have focused on the financial damage to Collins, the two reached an agreement after several days of negotiations. A judge in Los Angeles has approved the divorce judgment.

The judgment states that Collins won't have to continue to pay support payments. However, his ex-wife will receive a portion of his investment income and pension plan. The judgment also addresses the tape. All copies except two are to be destroyed, and they can only be used by either spouse in defense in a criminal or civil case. Collins has not been charged, even though the incidents have been investigated by authorities in two states.

While we may never know who made the tape public, this case shows how the public destruction of one spouse can have a significant impact on the spousal support awarded to the other spouse. While hurt, anger and bitterness can easily be part of a break-up, it's essential to make wise decisions that will benefit you and your children in the long run. An experienced North Dakota family law attorney can advise clients on the best course of action during a divorce and perhaps help them prevent their feelings from getting the best of them.

Source: The Huffington Post, "'7th Heaven' Actor Stephen Collins' Divorce Finalized" Anthony McCartney, AP, Jan. 23, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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