Simpson files court papers to remove him; Nick to spend Christmas in L.A.

By People Staff
Updated December 22, 2005 02:55 PM
Credit: X17; Ralph Notaro/Getty

Jessica Simpson’s lawyers filed court papers Wednesday requesting a new judge in her divorce from Nick Lachey, claiming the current judge in her case could be “prejudiced” against her or her attorney, TV’s Extra reports.

Simpson attorney Lance Spiegel filed the papers, which say she “cannot have a fair or impartial trial” with Judge Michael P. Linfield presiding.

As for why Simpson’s camp made the request, a source close to the pop star tells PEOPLE: “It’s a legal technicality. It is important to note this is coming from her attorney, not her.”

Another source tells PEOPLE the request is merely a formality, as Simpson and Lachey are in talks to have a private judge take over the case. “The goal is to have a private judge because both sides want this to be amicable and private,” the source said.

Simpson filed for divorce Dec. 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She also requested that no spousal support be awarded and that her surname be officially changed back to Simpson.

Simpson and Lachey met in 1998 while she was pursuing a singing career and Lachey was a member of 98 Degrees. The couple married in 2002, and their fame skyrocketed with the debut of the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, which chronicled their first year of marriage.

With the announcement of their divorce last week, the couple issued a statement that said their decision to split was “the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other.”

Earlier this week, a source close to Simpson told PEOPLE that Jessica was doing okay. “She is emotional, and as upsetting as this is, she knows she made the right decision,” the source said.

As for the holidays, Jessica was expected to spend Christmas in Hawaii with her family, while a source close to Nick says he will be in L.A. “His family is coming in to see him and spend time with him.”