Arnold Schwarzenegger's Divorce From Maria Shiver Takes Major Step Forward 10 Years Into Proceedings

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have agreed after a decade of divorce proceedings to settle in private, outside of the public court system. In legal documents filed last month and obtained by The Blast, Schwarzenegger and Shriver signed a stipulation agreeing to remove the ongoing divorce from the Los Angeles County Courthouse and have it handled by a private judge, an agreement which was approved by the judge. 

The former California governor and his ex previously had filed a declaration of disclosure in their case indicating they were finally close to settling their divorce, shocking people who have been following the slow-moving proceedings for more than a decade. Shriver initially filed for divorce on July 1, 2011, after learning that her husband had fathered a child with the couple's housekeeper, Mildred Patricia "Patty" Baena.

Schwarzenegger and Baena's child was born on Oct. 2, 1997, just days after Shriver welcomed her fourth child with her husband, son Christopher – now 24 years old. The former couple also shares daughters Katherine, 31, Christina, 30, and son Patrick, 28. It wasn't until May 2011 that it was publicly revealed Schwarzenegger was also a father to Baena's child, with Shriver telling The Hollywood Reporter in a public statement at the time, "This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment."

Schwarzenegger added in his own statement at the time, "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry."

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Up until this year, nothing new in the divorce has been filed in over four years, but it appears the former couple is closing in on an end to the proceedings. With a reported $400 million estate on the line and no prenuptial agreement signed before Schwarzenegger and Shriver wed in 1986, California law stipulates that the wealth accumulated by the couple would be split in half, making the lengthy proceedings more understandable. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have maintained a close co-parenting relationship over the years, and continue to celebrate family events together while supporting their children.