The Rules of Disengagement in Hollywood
When Mel Gibson and his ex-wife, Robyn Moore, finalized their divorce, it reportedly cost Mel a cool $450 million. If that number is the real deal, Mel’s divorce could easily be one of the priciest, if not the most expensive, in Hollywood history! And according to People Magazine, there was no prenup! Showbiz Tonight’s Twitter feed was overloaded with support for Robyn’s earnings, including @melodiroyer, who wrote "she deserves more than half
having 7 kids with him
being married 31 years." @madmaninbedlam said "… she should have gotten all of it!"
And Mel's wife isn't the only Hollywood spouse who will cash in big time on her divorce. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver still have yet to finalize details of their divorce after 25 years of marriage, and according to TMZ.com they didn’t sign a prenup either! And let’s not forget the divorces of short-timers Kim Kardashian andSinead O’Connor. Kim reportedly got Kris Humphries to sign a prenup, while we still have yet to learn if Sinead got her husband of 16 days to sign one. And Russell Brandcould make bank after divorcing Katy Perry.
So when does a spouse deserve half of the other spouse’s fortune? Showbiz Tonightwent straight to expert Vikki Ziegler (@vikkiziegler), an attorney of matrimonial law and civil litigation, and she had a lot to say!
Showbiz Tonight: Mel and Robyn were married for 31 years. Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger were married for 25 years. Does the length of a marriage affect how much one spouse can get from the richer spouse?
Vikki: In California and without a prenuptial agreement, the general accumulation of assets and income will be divided equally unless there is inheritance money that was separately held or gifts received by either party. Some people set a different amount to settle that is not 50-50, depending on how much one party has in their own name and how much child support and or alimony will be paid as well.
Showbiz Tonight: What if the couple has kids who aren't yet adults? Does one spouse deserve more?
Vikki: Usually, one spouse will not receive more than 50% of the assets unless there are dire circumstances or one party is spending out of control and depleting the marital estate. Usually a court can place money aside for a child's education if there is enough surplus in the estate and will most likely always award child support to ensure the parent of primary residence and presumably the non-breadwinner to be able to afford to support the minor child in the same lifestyle it was accustomed to until emancipation as defined in any given state. The courts look at assets and support in most cases differently. Here, we’re talking about asset division such as a bank account, a house, a farm or a vehicle. Child support is paid from income and is generally distinct.
Showbiz Tonight: What if the couple hasn't even been married for a year like Kim Kardashian (72 days) or Sinead O'Connor (16 days)? Do their spouses deserve half?
Depends on where they live. Morally, likely, not but legally speaking without proper marital planning -- like a prenuptial agreement, a will and other important legal documents executed. People in community property states leave themselves vulnerable to losing up to half of their fortune based on existing case law and statutes. Marrying couples need to understand the law in their specific state and be educated about what they have going into the marriage and how their assets and income can be divided in the event of divorce or death. A little education can save millions -- just look at Mel Gibson!
By Sandra Lee