A child prodigy who became one of the most creative musical figures of the 20th century, has filed for divorce. Stevie Wonder filed for divorce from his wife of eleven years, Kai Miller Morris. The divorce papers were filed this week in California, though the couple has reportedly been living apart since 2009.
Wonder was born May 13, 1950, as Stevland Hardaway Judkins, and had his name later changed by his mother to Morris. Wonder has been blind since shortly after birth, after being born six weeks premature with the condition of retinopathy of prematurity, which causes the retinas of the eyes to detach. He learned to play musical instruments at an early age, including the piano, harmonica, drums and bass. He also sang in his church choir when he was a child. Ronnie White of the Miracles was the one who introduced Berry Gordy of Motown Records to Wonder. After hearing Wonder, Gordy signed him to a record deal in 1961 at the age of eleven and Wonder has had many musical hits over the years.
According to court documents, Wonder married Morris in 2001, and they have two children together. Wonder cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for his divorce, and has requested joint custody of his sons. He has also agreed to pay child support and alimony to his soon to be ex-wife.
This could become a complicated and highly contested legal battle because they are divorcing in California, a community property state. Under California community property laws, any assets earned during the marriage are divided evenly among the spouses, regardless of which spouse earned them. This law, however, only applies to money earned while the couple was living together with the intention of remaining married. For the three years the couple has been apart, any assets earned may not be included in the community property division. It will be difficult to prove when specific funds were earned and also if, even though the couple was separated, if they intended to remain apart or reunite.