By Ariel Sosna and Sarah Van Voorhis, Van Voorhis & Sosna
Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash has initiated divorce proceedings from his wife, Perla Hudson, for the third time in six years, and this time it looks like “Civil War.” Slash is accusing Hudson of being a bigamist and claiming that their thirteen-year marriage is void, so she has no right to one-half of their massive community property fortune. Apparently, Hudson married someone in 1993, but it only lasted a month and they quickly divorced. Flash forward to 2009, when Slash and Hudson were trying to obtain dual citizenship for that sweet child of theirs (named Cash), Hudson discovered her Judgment of Dissolution in 1993 had not been properly filed.
At that time, Hudson had the “Patience” to obtain a judgment nunc pro tunc (latin for “now for then”), by arguing that her divorce should have been granted back in 1993, when she submitted the paperwork. Family Code §2346 allows a court to determine that a judgment of dissolution of marriage should be granted retroactively “If but by mistake, negligence, or inadvertence, the judgment has not been signed, filed, and entered . . .Upon the entry of the judgment, the parties have the same rights with regard to the dissolution of marriage becoming final on the date that it would have become final had the judgment been entered upon the date when it could have been originally entered.”
Even if Slash argues that despite the judgment nunc pro tunc, their marriage was not valid when he and Hudson married (because the nunc pro tunc judgment had not yet been entered), Hudson can still argue that she and Slash are “putative spouses.” Family Code §2251 authorizes the court to declare that either party to a void or voidable marriage (including bigamous marriages) has the status of a putative spouse and to divide the parties’ quasi-marital property. “The essential basis of a putative marriage . . . is a belief in the existence of a valid marriage. In addition, in the majority of cases, the de facto wife attempted to meet the requisites of a valid marriage, and the marriage proved invalid only because of some essential fact of which she was unaware, such as the earlier undissolved marriage of one of the parties . . . .” Vallera v. Vallera (1943) 21 Cal.2d 681, 684.
Slash clearly has an “Appetite for Destruction” if he is going to go forward with what appears to be an unwinnable argument.