Reality TV

Judge Rules Bindi Irwin Must Prove Father Is Dead To Get ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Money

Things are getting weird in LA Superior Court.

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that because 17-year-old Bindi Irwin is underage, she must submit a minor’s contract to stating that her mother, Terri, relinquishes all rights to the profits her daughter earns from her time on Dancing With the Stars. Without it, the show cannot release the money to Bindi, who, as a result of having made it past week eight of the competition, has earned $230,000 so far (a guarantee of $125,000 for signing on, an extra $10,000 for weeks three and four, $15,000 for week five, $20,000 for weeks six and seven, $30,000 for weeks eight and nine, and $50,000 if she makes it to weeks ten and eleven). Terri Irwin has signed the release, but the judge is still withholding the funds, for one utterly baffling reason.

Apparently, the LA judge wants the exact same release from Bindi’s father, which is a bit problematic when you consider that, sadly, Steve Irwin is not alive to sign it. Unless this judge has been living under a rock, and wasn’t around in 2006 when the Crocodile Hunter had his tragic encounter with a stingray, everyone knows that Steve Irwin passed away. It’s been nearly a decade since his passing, and it was a MAJOR story at the time, and has continued to resurface in the media lexicon since. But the judge in this case has declared that “the court is unable to find that it is in the best interest of the minor to be bound by the terms of the contract.” In short, Bindi has to prove her father is dead before the court will release any of her Dancing With the Stars money. Luckily for Bindi, the show’s lawyers are going to do everything in their power to make certain she gets the money to which she’s entitled.

Judge Rules Bindi Irwin Must Prove Father Is Dead To Get 'Dancing With the Stars' Money

Credit: ABC

On the one hand, I get that proper documentation is needed for every case, but it seems downright silly to imply that any of this is “in the best interest of the minor”. Sure, even in a highly-publicized case, they can’t just circumvent the law for Bindi and say, “Well, you don’t need to submit the same documents as everyone else,” but the wording of the judge’s ruling is ridiculous. Just say “Hey, we’re sorry but we really just need a death certificate for your father. We know it’s super-annoying bureaucratic red tape, but it’s just to complete the paper work for legality’s sake.” Don’t frame it as some noble act, as though denying her the money, presumably to keep her parents from exploiting it, is somehow protecting her interests, when the sole living parent has already relinquished her rights to the money.

Anyway, here’s hoping the Dancing With the Stars lawyers can sort out this ugly-ass mess. Until then, let us know what you think of this situation in the comments.

And for more on Dancing With the Stars and Bindi Irwin, watch her outstanding routine from this week alongside partner Derek Hough!

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