California Appeals Court Tells James Sylvester He's Not Crazy Enough to Get Out of His Divorce Settlement
Can Californians get out of a divorce by simply saying that they're fucking nuts?
This past year, James Sylvester of Los Angeles gave it the ol' college try, attempting to reverse his divorce settlement and gain spousal support from his ex-wife by arguing that he was mentally unstable when he signed the papers.
Now, after a nearly year-long battle, the Court of Appeals has spoken, and what it says does not bode well for Mr. Sylvester.
According to court documents, Sylvester finalized his divorce in July 2009. However, 13 months later he asked the court to toss out the divorce settlement, claiming it was "obvious to me that I was either mentally unstable or under duress when I signed the petition."
As proof of his insanity, Sylvester gave the court a pair of documents: the first containing statements from his ex-wife's attorney that Sylvester might be "mentally unstable," and the second pointing to a July 2009 police report in which an officer says Sylvester seemed "delusional."
So there, appellate judges. Want more proof?
According to the Court of Appeals, Sylvester also claimed that his ex-wife's lawyer coerced him into signing the divorce papers and that the attorney "continuously and systematically broke down his mental stability" in the months prior to the divorce.
Sylvester claimed that he was terrified what might happen to him if he did not agree to the divorce settlement and was specifically worried that he "might get killed before the trial date so my wife could collect $250,000 on my life insurance policy."
But in the end, it was not enough to move the state's giant legal minds.
The court decided that Sylvester "failed to provide any reasoned argument," - surely the sign of a mad-hatter - and more importantly, did not provide any legal "citation or legal authority" supporting his case.
Too bad, Sylvester, but if it's any consolation, we believe you're plenty crazy.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.