Just one day after their divorce was finalized, an Alabama judge unsealed the records of Governor Robert Bentley's divorce from his wife of 50 years, Dianne Bentley. After the divorce was finalized on September 29, 2015, attorneys for both parties filed a motion to unseal the records. According to a statement issued by Gov. Bentley, who is the current governor of Alabama, he "asked Judge Philip Lisenby to unseal settlement documents so the public and the media will have full access to it."
As can be imagined, the court documents were originally sealed to protect the privacy of the sitting governor and his former wife. Now that the divorce is final and the records have been made public, information gathered by local and national news outlets indicate the divorce was likely uncontested by the parties, because Ms. Bentley filed her petition for divorce in August, and the divorce was granted only a month later. The fact that Gov. and Ms. Bentley determined issues such as the division of financial accounts, possession of real property, alimony, payment of attorney's fees, and the possession of certain items of personal property like cars and the Governor's Alabama football tickets, also tend to show their divorce was likely uncontested.
One this the court documents do not clearly reveal is exactly why the couple divorced. In her petition for divorce, Ms. Bentley alleged the marriage was irretrievably broken, and in her testimony at the final divorce hearing, Ms. Bentley simply stated that she and Gov. Bentley were no longer compatible, and their differences could not be resolved. Other than these general statements, neither Gov. Bentley nor Ms. Bentley have alleged any fault or wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse. In fact, it is not entirely clear that Gov. Bentley desired the divorce, as his answer to the divorce complaint indicated he did not agree the marriage was irretrievably broken. Fortunately, it appears the couple managed to maintain respect for each other during their separation and the divorce process, because the couple continued to make public appearances with each other, up until the day the divorce complaint was filed. At least from an outsider's perspective, the Bentley's are the perfect example of how even though divorce is hard, it doesn't have to be nasty.