By RODNEY HOemail@example.com, Thursday, March 30, 2017 on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
I just spoke with the attorneys for Apollo Nida, the husband of Phaedra Parks of "Real Housewives of Atlanta," to gain some clarity on what happens next after a Fulton County judge threw out Parks' divorce judgment last week.
Apparently, the couple has to go back to square one and start from scratch. His attorneys believe Parks deliberately typed the incorrect names into the initial 2015 divorce filing (e.g. his name was spelled "Nita" instead of "Nida"), then had it sealed, to purposely keep Nida in the dark about what was going on. He didn't even know when the final hearing was last July. By default, she won her judgment and was able to walk away from Nida without giving up a penny in assets or custody of their two sons. (He was served the divorce papers in March of 2016 with the improper name spellings.)
The names were "were slightly altered in an effort to protect Phaedra's privacy and prevent media on reporting on her personal life," said Parks' spokesman Steve Honig. It wasn't meant to snow Nida.
But Nida wasn't having it. He filed his own separate divorce claim last December, then questioned the way she filed her divorce papers. The judge ultimately sided with Nida, feeling he had been mistreated.
Onyema Farrey and Tessie Edwards, Nida's co counsels, told me they believe Parks was purposely making it hard for Nida to respond to the filing to ensure she would get to keep the kids and all their assets. They dubbed her actions in classic "Real Housewives of Atlanta" parlance: "shady."
Now that everything is out in the open, Nida's attorneys plan to dig through all of their individual and joint assets and prepare for trial. Nida can't physically be there. He is now in federal prison for identity and bank fraud the tune of about $2 million. His sentence, which began in 2014, runs for eight years. But he could file a written deposition or answer questions by phone if the prison and the court allow it.
Nida has also dropped his separate divorce filing.
Parks has not been forthcoming about why she took this route and has not acknowledged that it backfired.
Honig earlier this week released a statement questioning why Nida would "work so aggressively to avoid ending his marriage." Nida's answer is simple: he wants to split assets in an equitable way.
Honig also noted that Nida has a fiance already. Nida's attorneys are aware he is dating Sherien Almufti and while TMZ and other outlets say the two are engaged, he has not told either of his attorneys that he is officially engaged. Almufti shows up on "Real Housewives of Atlanta" this Sunday based on a trailer that aired after last Sunday's episode.
Almufti posted on Instagram four months ago what she said was a paper ring from Nida and placed on her engagement finger.
Parks has been mum about her personal life outside the divorce on both the show and social media but Ferrey said she is aware that Parks began dating people last year.
According to Phaedra's publicist, "Phaedra is reviewing her options with her attorney to determine the most efficient path toward ending this marriage so she can move forward and focus on raising strong, healthy and happy children.”
The couple have been married about eight years. There is a pre-nuptial agreement in place.
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