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Mary-Kate Olsen‘s request to file for an emergency divorce from husband Olivier Sarkozy was denied by New York City Judge Michael Katz on Thursday after it was deemed “not to be an essential matter,” and now a legal expert is weighing in on the reasoning behind the dismissal.
“The court wants to make an example out of it, so the court wants to have a very public statement: ‘Do not mess with your ex right now,’” Steven Mindel, a Los Angeles-based certified family law specialist who is not involved with the case, told Fox News after the ruling.
“And so the court could have gone in one direction or the other,” Mindel explained. “The court could have heard the matter just to tell people, ‘We’re not going to let people get thrown out of their apartments right now,’ or the court may not hear the matter and say, ‘Don’t bring me trivial stuff from really wealthy people that could figure this out on their own.'”
According to TMZ, who first reported the split, Mary-Kate Olsen was looking to speed up the process with an emergency order because Sarkozy allegedly terminated the lease of their New York City apartment, and his lawyers have also reportedly emailed Mary-Kate Olsen notifying her that she needs to move out by May 18.
Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy are calling it quits after 5 years of marriage.
Mindel maintained that the New York court likely wanted to send a “serious indication” that only emergency matters would be heard at this present time given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Everybody’s going to see it. So this will be a very public message from the family law courts of New York to their constituents,” he added.
Per E! News, Mary-Kate Olsen is currently residing with her sister Ashley while the status of her divorce remains uncertain.
Mindel believes that the fissured couple has some effective options at their disposal such as an alternative dispute resolution, which would consist of mediation or arbitration via a retired private judge — if they did, in fact, want to resolve their split as quickly as possible now that Mary-Kate Olsen’s living arrangement appears to be figured out thanks to the court.
“In family law, we have a phrase for when the court refuses to act and we call them slow-death orders,” Mindel explained. “And the reason why we call them that [is] because when the courts refuse to act, well, that kind of sets the stage for the parties to make economic decisions.”
Mary-Kate Olsen, left, and Olivier Sarkozy attend the launch of Just One Eye’s Ulysses Tier 1: The Ultimate Disaster Relief Kit on December 5, 2014, in Los Angeles, Calif.
(Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Just One Eye)
“And it’s not because the court doesn’t care or because it’s not important. It’s because the court needs the parties to work these problems out themselves,” Mindel noted. “And the court understands that if it doesn’t make an order, for instance, if the house has value, somebody will make the house payment. And then at some later point in time, the court will then resolve all of the issues instead of resolving issues kind of one issue at a time.”
“And so we call those slow death orders and they’re very effective by judges because it forces the parties to get in a room and try to talk things out,” Mindel added.
Mindel says Mary-Kate Olsen’s primary next step after establishing a residence and securing her belongings is to actually decide how to move forward with the divorce, which could mean the parties meeting to put the matter to bed.
Actresses Ashley Olsen, left, and Mary-Kate Olsen arrive for a Museum of Modern Art tribute to director Tim Burton in New York November 17, 2009.
“My suspicion is that the complexity of any pre or post-marital agreement is relatively straightforward and will regulate how quickly the divorce moves to the system,” he explained. “And now that they’ve resolved this instant issue of who has the most power in the relationship with regard to the house – because the courts have kind of resolved that for them by doing nothing – I suspect that the rest of the divorce will be very quiet because the parties have no children.”
Mindel added: “They don’t really have a lot of reason to be in court at this point because the business managers and other financial handlers will probably resolve their financial situation for the two of them. Both of them may be heavily disengaged in this process.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report