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Houston gets divorce in O.C. court

April 05, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

With R&B singer Bobby Brown a no-show in court, an Orange County judge Wednesday granted Whitney Houston a divorce and sole custody of their 14-year-old daughter.

During a hearing that lasted about 10 minutes at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange, Houston testified that she didn't need spousal or child support to raise her daughter, Bobbi Kristina. She also described Brown as unreliable and a bad communicator.

"He's unavailable.... He doesn't keep his word," said Houston, flanked by two attorneys and dressed casually in jeans and a black hooded T-shirt. "If he says he's going to come, sometimes he does, usually he doesn't."

Superior Court Judge Franz Miller ruled that the divorce would become effective April 24, six months from the day Houston filed papers to end their nearly 15-year marriage. Brown will get reasonable visitation rights, Miller said, and might be ordered to pay child support in the future, should there be a need.

Attorney Ram F. Cogan, who observed the proceedings on Brown's behalf, said he planned to file a motion to set aside the divorce.

The hearing brought an undramatic end to a stormy relationship that has been well chronicled by the tabloids and a short-lived TV reality series called "Being Bobby Brown."

Houston, who according to court documents has a home in Laguna Hills, has been dogged by reports of alleged drug use. Brown has had frequent brushes with the law, including a 2003 domestic abuse charge in which he allegedly struck Houston in the face and threatened to beat her.

christine.hanley@latimes.com

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