- (Photo:Reuters/Ric Feld)
The divorce case between Georgia megachurch pastor Eddie Long and wife Vanessa Long has been closed and dismissed, according to the DeKalb County Online Judicial System. However, there remains a possibility the case could continue in the future.
According to the online judicial system record, there are three new entries as of Feb. 13 related to the Longs' divorce case with the descriptions "dismissal," "certificate of service" and "dismissed without prejudice" noted.
"Dismissed without prejudice" means the case may be re-instituted or re-filed in the future. According to the Judicial Branch of Georgia website, "A dismissal without prejudice does not stop the plaintiff from re-filing the claim and proceeding as long as the claim is made timely (within the statute of limitations) and service can be secured."
It is undetermined whether Long or his wife chose to close the case. They have been married for 21 years and share three children. Long has another child, a son, by his first wife, whom he divorced in 1985.
Long is the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church located in Lithonia, Ga., a suburb in Atlanta. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vanessa Long released a statement on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, saying that she had decided to terminate her marriage after "a great deal of deliberation and prayer."
Just hours later, a statement from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church attributed to Long said the first lady had a change of heart, and planned to withdraw her petition for divorce. "I believe in [Eddie Long] and admire his strength and courage," Long said in the statement.
Then, later in the day, her attorney announced in a statement that "[Vanessa Long] has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time," and that she had every intention of moving forward with the proceedings.
Shortly after the divorce announcement, Eddie Long announced that he was going on hiatus from preaching to focus on his family. The bishop returned to the pulpit in early January.
As of Feb. 13, the divorce case is closed.
Although Long's divorce case has garnered much media attention, the famous megachurch pastor was most recently in the news for a YouTube video of his Jan. 29 church service, during which visiting Rabbi Ralph Messer wrapped Long in a Torah scroll, and proclaimed the Georgia minister to be a "king."
Several segments of the faith community objected to the ceremony. After members of the Jewish community expressed deep offense to the incident, Long apologized in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League.