Divorce Documents of Gov. Bentley and First Lady Sealed Upon Joint Request
If you’re looking for some hot gossip on Governor Robert’s Bentley’s impending divorce from the soon-to-be-former-First Lady, Dianne Bentley, you’re out of luck. A Tuscaloosa judge recently ordered that the divorce records of Alabama’s governor be kept sealed from the public eye.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Hamner, who was appointed to her position by Bentley in 2011, ordered the records to be sealed on Monday, August 31 just 30 minutes after both Gov. Bentley and the former First Lady requested that the documents be kept private.
The documents were filed at 8:37 a.m. Monday morning, according to the timestamps, and the order was granted at 9:04 a.m. that morning.
Judge Hamner cited a 1993 Alabama Supreme Court case, Holland v. Eads, to explain that divorce proceedings, even those of a prominent public figure, should remain “wholly private family matters.”
The divorce was filed on Friday, August 28 by Dianne Bentley but it could take anywhere from six weeks to 12 months before the entire process is complete and the divorce is finalized.
The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Gov. Bentley had appointed Judge Hamner to the bench in 2011. She was one of three candidates recommended to Gov. Bentley by the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission, and she ran unopposed for re-election in 2012.
According to ABC News, the couple had been married for quite some time; both Gov. Bentley and his ex-wife are both 72 years old and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past July. Despite their time together, the couple was experiencing irreconcilable differences and did not wish to live together any longer.
“Plaintiff states that there is such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together,” said L. Stephen Wright Jr., an attorney for Dianne Bentley. “There exists a conflict of personalities which destroys the legitimate aims of matrimony and all possibilities of reconciliation are futile.”
AL.com reported recently that although the couple has been living separately since January, they have continued to make appearances together.
She stated that they had experienced an “irretrievable breakdown” in their marriage and wished for as much privacy as possible. Gov. Bentley’s office issued a request for privacy as well, and he reportedly told members of his cabinet that he wished to have the divorce documents sealed so that the private family issue did not take attention away from public state matters.