An “Occupy Wall Street” protestor who incurred the wrath of conservatives by abandoning her family to join the protests, has been awarded a divorce from her husband of nineteen years.  Stacey Hessler, the 39-year-old Florida mother of four, told the Post that she has not regretted her choice of leaving her family to become an “Occupy Wall Street” protester stating, “Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad?  I’m fighting for a better world.”  She describes herself as “midwives assistant, roller-derby queen, rock-star musician, activist, and organic vegan freak, and first appeared at Zuccotti Park a year ago and immediately immersed herself into the Occupy Movement.

Hessler, according to the New York Post, has been divorced by her husband Curtis and has received an $85,000 settlement, which includes cash and his 401(k) retirement fund.  Filed on October 16, the divorce settlement awards Hessler, known as Occu-Mom, the $79,585 fund and a $5,800 bank account.   The filing listed Hessler’s occupation as “protester” and her employer as “Occupy Wall Street,” with an annual salary of $0, and also cited irreconcilable differences for the couple’s split.

Hessler’s now former husband, Curtiss Hessler, is a Bank of America financial advisor, and has been awarded custody of the couple’s four children, son Peyton, 18, daughters Kennedy, 16, Sullivan, 14, and Veda, 8. He will have the children every weekday, weekend, holiday and school break.  Stacey Hessler is allowed to see her children at any time, but only when “they want to see her” and only in a “safe environment.”  Visitation may be a problem as Hessler is known to sleep at downtown bank vestibules or Brooklyn hostels that may not be deemed “safe or suitable” environments for children.

Curtiss, under the settlement,  retains the  $65,000, 62-year-old family home located about 25 miles west of Daytona Beach, and assumes the $13,000 mortgage. 

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and is celebrated with programs and activities at the local, state and national levels.  The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987, and that same year the first national toll-free hotline was started as well. 

In the United States, every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten, and globally, at least one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.  More women are injured by domestic violence than by car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.    Research has suggested that approximately ten million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.  Unfortunately, many men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence, were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

In Florida, there are many programs to promote domestic violence awareness and one program is the “Purple Purse” campaign.  Allstate  Foundation and the YWCA USA have joined together for this program.  This campaign gives hundreds of purses carrying information concerning domestic violence to not only Allstate and YWCA employees, but to  government officials, celebrities, media and domestic violence leaders to distribute to friends and family.  Every time a purple purse is passed and registered on PurplePurse.com, the Allstate Foundation will donate $10 back to the local YWCA.  The YWCA provides shelter to over half a million battered women each year, and has 1,300 locations across our nation.

You can also virtually pass a purple purse by visiting the Purple Purse campaign on Facebook and then pass a  purse with an inspirational message to friends and family.  For every virtual inspirational purse you pass, Allstate will donate $10 to the YWCA.

To learn more about activities and programs promoting domestic violence awareness in your community,  contact the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the YWCA or the Allstate Foundation.

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They were known as the Hollywood couple who stuck together through thick and thin.  Unfortunately, after knowing each other for forty years, a famous Hollywood couple is calling it quits.   Danny DeVito, 67, and Rhea Perlman, 64, have decided to go their separate ways after thirty years of marriage.

The two met at an off-Broadway play, “The Shrinking Bride”, in 1970.  Rhea attended the play to see a friend perform,  DeVito talked with her after the play was over, the two were smitten with each other, they moved in together two weeks later and the rest is history.  The couple were married on January 28, 1982, and have three children:  Lucy Chet, Grace Fan, and Jacob Daniel. 

Throughout their relationship, DeVito and Perlman worked along side each other many times.  They were both in the popular TV show “Taxi” and the feature film “Matilda”.  The couple also have a successful production company, Jersey Films, which produced several popular movies, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Garden State,” and “Erin Brockovich.”

DeVito’s  film career began in 1975 when he played Martini in the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which reprised his role from the 1971 off-Broadway play of the same name.  His fame came when he played Louie De Palma, the domineering dispatcher for the fictional Sunshine Cab Company on the hit TV show “Taxi.”  When “Taxi” ended, DeVito’s successful movie career took off, with roles in such movies as “Ruthless People”, “Romancing the Stone,” “Twins,” “Batman Returns,” and many, many more.

Perlman began acting in the 1970’s, with her first notable role as Zena, Louie’s girlfriend on “Taxi.”  In 1982, she landed the role as Carla Tortelli on the sitcom “Cheers.”  In that role, she won the Emmy four times, and was also nominated for a Golden Globe six times.  Perlman is an author as well, penning the successful illustrated children’s book series “Otto Undercover.”

Although no official  reason has been given for the separation, sources close to DeVito and Perlman say the couple has been unhappy for “over ten years” and that Perlman is divorcing DeVito because of “his wandering eye.”   Whether this is true or not, it is unfortunate that a couple who has spent forty years together is calling it quits.

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When a couple in Florida separates, a legal agreement is not required.  However, a separation agreement is advisable when a couple has very differing financial situations, such as one partner is the wage earner and one stays home and takes care of the children.  A formal separation agreement will help ensure that all family members’ needs be met. 

The agreement needs to cover all necessary details and also comply with any applicable law.  The terms of the agreement will depend on the needs of the couple and any children involved, but the following details should be covered in the agreement. 

  • Custody of the children
  • Child support
  • The spouses’ right to live separately
  • Income taxes
  • Insurance – medical, dental and life
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • A visitation schedule
  • Property and debt division

Although a separation agreement does not have to be filed with the court, it can be presented if problems arise in the future. 

Another reason for filing a separation agreement is to protect the assets obtained after the separation.  It would seem common sense that once a couple has separated emotionally and financially, that whatever assets obtained after the separation would belong to the individual who obtained the asset.  Unfortunately, this is not so.  When one partner decides to petition for a dissolution of marriage, if a valid separation agreement has not been executed, all assets of the couple will be evenly distributed to both spouses. 

In order to prevent any unnecessary litigation and court expenses and protect your assets as well, as soon as you separate from your spouse execute a valid separation agreement.  An experienced family law attorney can assist you in this process and can also ensure that the document will be upheld in the future should you or your spouse decide to petition for a dissolution of marriage.

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