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Estranged But Not Divorced? Here’s What May Explain Trick Daddy’s Marital Situation


On the second episode of “Love and Hip Hop Miami” Monday, Jan. 8, Trick Daddy found himself in a bit of a conundrum when his estranged wife showed up at a club. The rapper-producer had made a grand entrance at a local club with fellow MC and collaborator Trina when his wife, Joy, showed up. Needless to say, the run-in led to some awkwardness on screen.

“I see Joy in the corner,” Trick says. “I’m tryna figure out why in the hell is she here. I ain’t holla’d at Joy in ’bout four years. But I know that’s Trina’s cousin. She keep poppin’ up every time we go somewhere. Now, when you ain’t speak to somebody in over four years, you damn sure ain’t tryna celebrate their birthday with ’em.”

The incident begs the question of why a couple would stay married for years and go on to date other people without getting a divorce. According to Atlanta-based attorney Kristal Holmes of Meriwether & Tharp, there’s not one specific reason.

“Sometimes the breadwinner realizes it’s cheaper to keep her, if you will, and realizes if they follow through with the divorce they’re gonna lose — in their mind — money and assets,” she said. “So they don’t pull the trigger on the divorce — they just go live their life, avoid having to pay alimony or avoid having to give the other party whatever it is they think they might lose.”

Why the other partner wouldn’t file for divorce, Holmes said, also isn’t clear. But whether the person is well off like Trick — who is not her client — or an everyday person, it may be beneficial to stay with someone for health insurance benefits or financial stability.

“Sometimes it’s just a situation where nobody’s moving forward with a divorce because they don’t know how, they can’t afford an attorney,” she said. “Why [Trick Daddy] is continuing on in a marriage — or his wife — is hard to say. For him, it could be a financial thing. For her, she may be receiving some sort of financial benefit but then again, she may not be.”

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The estranged couple later had a heart-to-heart when Joy showed up to Trick’s house to explain why she walked away from the relationship. Joy explained she was unhappy, but Trick insisted her degree of happiness hasn’t changed.

“The money is a plus,” he says. “The money is a blessing because if it weren’t for God, it wasn’t gon’ be no money.”

“I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but that’s not all to life!” Joy says, before later saying love and respect were the issues. “If nobody had no money, it would’ve been me and you just here. All we was gon’ have was each other.”

But for couples struggling with splitting sans divorce, Holmes tells clients the choice is a personal one. She just lays out the pros and cons and lets the clients decide from there.

“I’ve seen situations where people are significantly concerned about assets or health insurance,” she said. “I have to advise them, ‘Well, if you get divorced and he works for XYZ company, he’s not gonna be able to ensure you anymore.’ So that may make a person stay in a marriage.

“But they always have a choice,” Holmes added. “Whether or not they choose to move forward with that choice is a different story.”

And according to Legal Zoom, if the spouse dies while you’re estranged and married, non-probate assets, like life insurance death benefits and retirement plans, typically have named beneficiaries — so you could be entitled to those or not.

Probate assets, or those that go through the process of vetting a will and administering a deceased person’s assets, include all other assets and will likely require a court date. That is, unless, the deceased person established a trust. If the spouse did not, the surviving one will usually inherit the spouse’s probate assets according to the respective state’s probate laws.

When it comes to a will, if the deceased spouse did not write their estranged partner out of the will prior to their death, inheritance will continue until the divorce is finalized. And if there’s no will from the spouse? The widow or widower usually inherits according to the state’s laws of intestate succession. But, even if the spouse decides to move on and date another person without getting a divorce, the new mate has no legal right to assets -unless it’s stated in the will.

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