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Schwarzenegger amends divorce deal, as son recovers

27 july 2011, 17:57
Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. ©Reuters
Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. ©Reuters
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has backtracked and could now provide financial support to his estranged wife Maria Shriver after they divorce, AFP reports, citing new documents.

Schwarzenegger, who filed court papers last week indicating he was resisting her request for spousal support, submitted a new filing Monday leaving open the option of helping Shriver financially, and paying both their legal fees.

Some media reports suggest that Schwarzenegger overlooked the details when his lawyer submitted the paperwork last week, and fixed them when they were brought to his attention.

Whatever the reason, the thaw in his legal position came as Schwarzenegger and Shriver welcomed the news that their 13-year-old son Christopher had left hospital after a boogie boarding accident put him in intensive care last week.

The former bodybuilder and film star, reported to be worth $400 million jointly with Shriver, put his film comeback plans on hold after admitting in May that he had fathered a child with the couple's former housekeeper.

Shriver filed for divorce four weeks ago citing "irreconcilable differences" with her husband, whom she met in 1977 and married in 1986, and in her court documents requested spousal support.

In papers filed last week to the LA Superior Court, Schwarzenegger's lawyer checked a box seeking to make the court unable to award support, and to have the couple share the legal fees.

But on the new papers filed Monday, published by celebrity news website TMZ, the box seeking to stop the court granting support was no longer checked -- and for legal fees only Schwarzenegger's box was checked, meaning he pays for both.

LA family law attorney Scott Weston said it appeared to be an honest mistake, as the original filing was "standard practice" for a high-powered divorce document.

"He would have checked the box to give the court the right to end his spousal support obligation should Shriver at some point have enough money to support herself," he told People magazine.

Asked why Schwarzenegger amended the paperwork this week, he said: "He's taking a lot of heat for having done it, as if he was intending to cut her off, which was not the case."

The move came as Schwarzenegger and Shriver welcomed their son's recovery, after the teenager spent last week in intensive care suffering from broken bones and a collapsed lung.

"Blessed to be able to take Christopher out of the hospital last night. What a feeling of relief to know that he's going to be fine," tweeted Shriver, a daughter of the storied Kennedy political clan.

"I knew Christopher couldn't be stopped! Big thanks to all the doctors, nurses & staff at UCLA that helped him recover," added Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger, 63, admitted in May that he had fathered a child with the family's long-time housekeeper, Mildred Baena, and announced the couple's separation.

The Austrian-born former bodybuilder, a liberal Republican, had left office in January, and started to return to show business, with plans for a "Governator" comic book and animated TV show.

But he put his comeback on hold in May, telling his agents that "all his motion picture projects currently underway or being negotiated (should) stop planning until further notice."

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