When we were able to read Chris Rock’s divorce complaint that was filed in New Jersey in December of 2014, there didn’t seem to be novel or groundbreaking issues raised or allegations made. There was standard language regarding the couples’ prenuptial agreement and requests for child custody. While Chris’ allegations that his wife did not let him spend time with the children may seem scandalous in tabloids, this accusation of one parent against the other is made rather routinely in contested divorces that involve children.
What is unique about celebrity divorces in New Jersey is what is unique about all high net worth divorces in the Garden State: the sheer sums of money and the unique forms that assets take, that are at stake in these battles. Of course, press coverage about the couple is prevalent; coverage that 99% of all other divorced couples in New Jersey (even the rich ones) will not face.
Chris Rock’s estranged wife, Maalak Compton-Rock, reportedly asked for a “sizable portion” of his $70 million fortune, according to nj.com, so that she could maintain her “celebrity lifestyle.” According to her papers, she spent the majority of her time caring for the couples’ children (including one non-biological child from South Africa, who would also become a subject of controversy with the couple) and working with her charity in northern New Jersey. In Michael Strahan, Good Morning America host and former New York Giant’s acrimonious divorce, he complained that his spent in one year $22,500 on photographs, $27,000 on clothes for their 20-month-old twin daughters, and $1,700 in sign language classes — even though neither daughter is hearing impaired. Again, most folks here would not be dealing with these sums of money, or this type of lifestyle.
So, how to courts and divorce attorneys handle high net worth divorce in New Jersey? Without question there are certain types of considerations that come up in high net worth divorces that experienced attorneys know how to look for and address. These issues can include division of businesses such as medical practices or corporations, complicated trusts, identifying hidden income and assets, handling deferred compensation and stock options, possession of vacation homes and unique property such art or jewelry.
Because these unique issues can become complex a good New Jersey divorce attorney will enlist the services of other professionals to assist you during the divorce process. These other professionals can be tax attorneys, real estate appraisers, private investigators or forensic accountants. A qualified family law attorney should recognize the need to enlist advice and services from experts in other areas and not attempt to navigate these areas alone, without input from those experts in their respective fields.
Further, your high net worth divorce attorney should, as with all other types of divorces, encourage you to settle your case. Simply because you have a high net worth, does not mean that you should expend large sums on unnecessary legal fees. You should insist on maintaining the most control over your divorce and your emotional and financial future.
While high net worth divorces may have the same types of emotion as regular divorces, they have distinctive financial concerns. Working with a qualified attorney who is experienced in high net worth divorces here in New Jersey is a must.
Do you have questions about your divorce? Please contact us today to schedule your initial confidential consultation.