Kobe Bryant divorce: Couple divides assets despite kiss photo
Court records indicate that Vanessa Bryant's divorce from Kobe Bryant is proceeding despite several reports over the last week of the pair together.
But one legal expert said it's not uncommon for couples to continue the legal work of separate even if they consider whether to continue some type of relationship.
“A married couple can decide to split their specific assets and continue their marriage,” said family law attorney Chris Melcher.
Last week, Kobe and Vanessa were photographed kissing at Staples Center on Valentine's Day, two months after she filed for divorce.
Records in Orange County court show they are dividing their assets, with Vanessa receiving an estimated $18.8 million in property from Kobe.
The couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, Vanessa Bryant's mother has told The Times. If true, Vanessa would be entitled to half of their community property.
Melcher, who is not involved in the case, said he's seen cases in which a couple has a “a financial divorce but continue their marriage.”
The move sometimes improves a relationship, he added. “There is more of a balance of power in the relationship,” Melcher said.
Some estimates put Kobe Bryant's net worth at $150 million. Legal experts said Vanessa Bryant probably will receive at least $75 million, in addition to spousal and child support.
There has been much speculation about whether the couple was getting back together after photos showed them kissing near the Lakers' locker room at Staples Center after a game Tuesday night. Representatives for the couple have not commented.
Vanessa Bryant filed a divorce petition in Orange County Superior Court in December, citing "irreconcilable differences." The couple released a joint statement then saying that they had "resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately."
According to property records review by The Times, three mansions in Newport Beach's upscale Newport Coast community recently have been placed in Vanessa Bryant's name. They are:
-- An estate in the Resort at Pelican Hill that was recently under construction. Property records peg its worth at $11.2 million. Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, was the listed owner until he signed transfer papers Dec. 15.
-- A home worth $2.9 million owned jointly by the couple since 2003. Vanessa Bryant signed documents to transfer it into her name Dec. 14.
-- A home valued at $4.7 million that was transferred to Vanessa on Dec. 30 from the Kobe Bryant trust.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant in February 2010. Credit: LM Otero / Associated Press