Tag Archive for: celebrity divorce & separation

Divorce for People in the Public Eye

Are you a celebrity, politician, or play on a professional sports team — and want to get a divorce? With high profile and celebrity divorce news dominating headlines these days, it’s trickier than ever for people in the public eye to keep divorce matters private. Unless, of course, you have the right lawyer on your side.

What makes some attorneys more capable than others at handling the complex needs of high-profile or celebrity clientele? Here are some qualities we think are important: Read more

Celebrity Divorce Role Models: Russell Brand and Katy Perry

We all know about dreadful celebrity divorces–the type where the future exes drag each other’s name through the mud, hang their dirty personal laundry out in the tabloids, scrap for every dollar, and argue over child custody issues. Astonishingly, though, there are celebrities who bring their marriage to an end quietly and peacefully. Today’s exemplars of A-list Divorce Done Right are Russell Brand and Katy Perry.

Read more

Money Pit: Top Ten Most Expensive Divorces

The rich are different. Their divorces cost more.

What happens when the uber-wealthy can’t make the love work anymore? First, the lawyers make a lot of money. Second, they race to find a spot on this list of the world’s most expensive divorces.

Read more

Would Divorce Mediation Have Protected Celebrity Zooey Deschanel’s Financial Information?

“New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel filed for divorce on December 23, likely hoping that news of her split from husband, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, would not be buzz-worthy enough to make headlines during the holidays. The low-key star may have escaped public scrutiny, except for one key mistake: the divorce filing was accompanied by a copy of the actress’s personal financial information.

Not that she has anything to be embarrassed about. Far from being a Hollywood spendthrift, Zooey’s divorce documents show a money-savvy starlet who even gives regularly to charity. Her income and expense declaration, according to TMZ, shows that Zooey makes $95,000 a month on her hit TV sitcom, but only spends about $22,500 a month on such items as:

-Telephone, cell & e-mail – $300
-Groceries – $1,000
-Eating Out – $500
-Dry Cleaning – $600
-Utilities – $800
-Clothes – $2,000
-Charity – $1,500

Deschanel’s statements also verified that she has zero credit card debt, and has saved up $1,578,000 in the bank, $1,645,000 in stocks and $693,300 in property, bringing the 32-year-old celebrity’s net worth to a cool 3.9 million.

Other than demonstrating the value of spending relatively little and saving a lot, Zooey Deschanel’s case teaches anyone contemplating divorce a valuable lesson in privacy. Could she have done anything different to keep her financial information out of the public eye? Yes, if she had gone the route of divorce mediation or if her attorney had advised her to get the financials sealed as part of the divorce process.

Because mediated divorce is handled privately, and not in a courtroom, financial statements are primarily only seen by the mediator and parties involved, except of course if other experts are brought in — this can ultimately keep them our of public divorce records. Celebrities, athletes, and other high profile individuals are often counseled to seriously consider mediation as a way to protect financial and personal issues during times of divorce. But even for non-celebrities, maintaining privacy is important and, in this way, mediation holds a key advantage over litigation.

Another way divorce mediation helps? Zooey and Ben Gibbard married in 2009 and don’t have children. However, for couples with children, the more amicable tone of divorce mediation can help to preserve parent-child relationships (and make co-parenting easier), as opposed to litigation which can further sever the relationship. Also, divorce mediation enables you to set the terms of your divorce and gives you great flexibility in the final outcome of your divorce settlement. If a judge is deciding, you place yourself at the mercy of the court, which may not be best in your situation.

As for Zooey, we know the “New Girl” is new to divorce, but we hope she starts to get some better advice on how to handle the proceedings without the gossip grapevine having access to her every move.

For more information specific to the divorce mediation in New Jersey, please read our “Divorce Mediation” page and contact us with any questions specific to your marital situation.

Additional Resources From Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group on Divorce Mediation:
Blog Post: Seven Myths About Divorce Mediation

Resources:
Yahoo Finance – Zooey Deschanel Saves Her Pennies:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/zooey-deschanel-saves-her-pennies.html
The Washington Post – Zooey Deschanel Files for Divorce from Ben Gibbard:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/zooey-deschanel-files-for-divorce-from-ben-gibbard/2012/01/05/gIQA5nGXcP_blog.html
TMZ – Zooey Deschanel Financial Net Worth Divorce:
http://www.tmz.com/2012/01/04/zooey-deschanel-financial-net-worth-divorce/

Talking About Marriage & Divorce…

Which celebrity power couple announced their divorce after being married for just over a year–and which celeb is on tap to make a huge payout to a former spouse? What happened to make an Italian couple the oldest divorcees in the world? And what new details were revealed this week about a prominent politician’s divorce? After scouring the web for the latest news, views, and tweets from the world of marriage & divorce, here’s the scoop on this week’s headline-grabbing stories:

Celebrity Divorces:

 

Katy Perry and Russell Brand won’t be ringing in the New Year with their wedding rings on, after Russell filed for divorce in California on December 30, 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. Divorce rumors began to swirl around the comedian and Teenage Dream singer when it was reported that they had spent this year’s holiday season living apart.

According to TMZ,  Russell indicated the couple have “community property assets”, a sign the star couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement, or the one they did sign doesn’t cover all of the earnings and other assets they accumulated since their October 2010 wedding.

In other Hollywood news, Mel Gibson officially became single again this week, but not before paying out half of his estimated $850 million fortune to ex-wife Robyn Moore in what is being called one of the largest divorce settlements in history.

Because the couple didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, Robyn, 55, was legally entitled to half of everything he earned during their marriage and she is also entitled to 50 per cent of Mel’s future film earnings. According to the OC Register, Mel now joins such fellow celebs as Paul McCartney and Tiger Woods when it comes to high payout divorce settlements. In 2006, Paul McCartney paid former wife Heather Mills a sum of $50 million after arguing with the judge that his assets were not as great as Heather claimed. In 2010, Tiger Woods paid Elin Nordegren $100 million after their five-year marriage ended in scandal.

Sources & Resources  this week for Celebrity News:
http://www.tmz.com/2011/12/30/katy-perry-divorce-russell-brand/
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/divorce-333206-gibson-fortune.html

In Political News:

 

Newt Gingrich’s campaign still denies that it was the former Speaker of the House who sought a divorce in 1980 from first wife Jackie Battley Gingrich, an issue that has been the basis of personal attacks in the lead up to the Republican primary race. But as CNN reports, recently unearthed court documents show that not only did Newt file for divorce, citing the marriage as “irretrievably broken” but Jackie Gingrich responded to the complaint by asking the judge to reject her husband’s filing, stating, “Defendant shows that she has adequate and ample grounds for divorce, but that she does not desire one at this time.”

Newt Gingrich maintains that his wife requested the divorce, with daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman bolstering this account in an op-ed she wrote last year. Until they were located last week, the Gingrich divorce court documents had been hidden in an undisclosed location due to security concerns, says the Clerk of Court for the Carroll County Superior Court in Carrollton, Georgia.

Sources & Resources this week for Political News:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/26/politics/gingrich-divorce-file/index.html

Worldwide:

Are we about to set a new record for the world’s oldest divorce couple? A few days before Christmas, a 99-year old Italian man, identified by lawyers only as Antonio C, was rummaging though some papers when he discovered a set of love letters from the 1940s written by his wife of 77 years, Rosa C, 96, to the man she had a secret affair with all those decades ago. Though Rosa came clean about her past indiscretions, Antonio immediately filed for divorce. The couple have five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great-grand child. If the divorce does go through, Rosa and Antonio will become the world’s oldest divorcees, displacing current record holders,  Bertie and Jessie Wood, both aged 98, from the UK.

Sources & Resources this week for Worldwide News:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8982958/99-year-old-divorces-wife-after-he-discovered-1940s-affair.html

Marriage in Tweets:

As seen in Twitter this week:
Marriage isn’t until dislike do us part; It is until death do us part. Choose your spouse wisely #Marriage — via @marriage4

Some wise words to consider as we welcome 2012.

Happy New Year!

What’s Reasonable for Child Support in Celebrity or High Net Worth Divorce Cases?

What if Linda Evangelista lived in Montclair, New Jersey and not Manhattan? Calculating child support when high net worth parents’ ability to pay is not an issue is the case in celebrity divorce news.

When Evangelista was at the height of supermodel stardom, her face was everywhere. But now Linda Evangelista is back in the spotlight for a very different reason after last month, filing a child support application in Manhattan Family Court seeking $46,000 a month from Francois-Henri Pinault, current husband of Salma Hayek and, as we learned from court papers, the father of Evangelista’s 4-year-old son, Augusten James. In what could turn out to be the largest support request in Family Court history, the New York Post reports the majority of the $46,000 a month in child support would go to cover a 24-hour nanny and personal drivers for the child.

Is this reasonable? According to a Bloomberg Businessweek publication, Francois Henri-Pinault’s total compensation as CEO of PPR (a luxury brand corporation) was roughly $5.2 million in 2010, not counting stock dividends or returns on other investments, with his net worth estimated at approximately $11 million. Evangelista’s exact annual earnings are uncertain, but she is reported to be worth at least $8 million.

Evangelista is far from poverty, or even simply being middle class, but according to a Huffington Post analysis, the law may favor the former supermodel in this case. In New York, child support rules state that in high income cases where parental income exceeds $130,000, an award of child support should be based on the child’s actual needs and the amount required for the child to live an appropriate lifestyle.

Who is setting precedence for these kinds of high net worth conditions in divorce and child support cases? It’s another famous celebrity name with its own twist: Sean “Diddy” Combs. In Brim v. Combs, the NY Appellate Division held that the Family Court made a mistake in basing a child support award on the amount of support Combs was paying for another child from a different woman, and not on evidence of the child in question’s expenses, resources and needs. The court used the custodial parent’s testimony to provide evidence of the child’s actual needs — meaning that, in Evangelista’s case, her request for a 24/7 nanny, in light of her unconventional career, may be viewed as reasonable by a court. And while the request for personal drivers may appear excessive and frivolous to most, a judge may think they are necessary for maintaining Augusten’s lifestyle — and that his father should foot the bill, or at least contribute.

What if instead of Manhattan, Linda lived in Montclair, New Jersey? Under current New Jersey guidelines for child support requests, in situations where parents have a high net worth, she might still be able to get the nanny and drivers. In 2007, a child support claim involved another celebrity — former Giants’ defensive-end, Michael Strahan. His ex-wife’s appeal of the initial divorce judgment helped to clarify how child support is calculated in high net worth cases in New Jersey. According to an Appellate Division decision of the New Jersey Superior Court ruling in the Strahan v. Strahan case, where high-income parents whose ability to pay is not an issue, “the dominant guideline for consideration is the reasonable needs of the children, which must be addressed in the context of the standard of living of the parties. The needs of the children must be the centerpiece of any relevant analysis.”

Bottom line: even in New Jersey, it’s possible Linda could make a case for round-the-clock care for her son and someone to cart him around… but just make sure it’s not in a horse-drawn cart! While child support guidelines are more subjective in high net worth cases, the Strahan ruling also referenced New Jersey’s longstanding “Three Pony Rule”, a guideline that states “no child, no matter how wealthy the parents, needs to be provided with more than three ponies.”

But the question remains: how much will Pinault need to “pony up” for his son’s child support?

Sources:

Rutgers University, New Jersey – Law Library:
http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a3747-06.opn.html

New York Post:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/linda_demands_monthly_from_ex_8lWhicZ0088EQTIU1kouNI

Bloomberg Businessweek:
http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=1061221&ticker=PP:FP&previousCapId=666672&previousTitle=PPR%20SA

Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evangeline-gomez/linda-evangelistas-stunni_b_922825.html

New York State Law Reporting Bureau:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2005/2005_02660.htm

 

Lessons Learned for New Jersey Child Custody: Top Celebrity Custody Battles

New Jersey child custody cases aren’t as well-known as those in the foothills of Hollywood.  Well, for the most part.  There was that whole “Baby M” issue.  But, generally speaking, the child custody cases we hear about arise from the sun-drenched Hollywood Hills.

Celebrity gossip can be amusing to say the least.  Don’t worry. You’re not alone in your guilty pleasure.  But sometimes, unfortunately, children suffer at the hands of fortune, fame, and lost romance.  Over the years, we’ve seen some of Hollywood’s brightest stars duke it out in Los Angeles court rooms over child custody.  And while we might find ourselves enthralled by breakup battles, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.  Of course, not everyone is an actor or pop-star with millions of dollars.  But, at the end of the day, human emotion is often what drives a child custody case.

Take a look at some of these top celebrity custody battles, and see if it helps you put a New Jersey child custody case in perspective.

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger

In a classic battle of “he said, she said,” these two movie stars fought it out over their daughter, Ireland, who also goes by the nickname Addie.  She said he was emotionally abusive.  He said she was mentally unstable.  He also called his daughter “a thoughtless little pig.”  In the end, though, after apologies were made, the courts restored Baldwin’s visitation rights and the two have shared custody.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline

This custody battle was so bitter it made washing your mouth out with soap seem like a pleasantry.  Britney’s descent into drugs, alcohol, and unsafe behavior caused her to be the first major female celebrity in years to lose custody of her children.  She lost custody because she reportedly failed to follow a court order that required her not to drive without a valid license, and to undergo random drug testing and parental counseling.

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe

Michael Jackson was notorious for his eccentric—to say the least—lifestyle.  And not much was different when it came to his custody case.  Originally, in 2001, Rowe gave up her legal rights to their children, Michael, Jr. and Paris.  However, after allegations of child molestation, Rowe tried to regain custody.  After nearly a 3-year battle, the two reached a settlement out of court in which Rowe reportedly gave up visitation rights for reinstated alimony payments of up to $750,000 a year.

David Hasselhoff and Pamela Bach

As in most custody battles, it’s his word versus her word.  He accused her of substance abuse, and she said he was a physically abusive alcoholic.  In May 2007, a video surfaced of an intoxicated Hasselhoff eating a hamburger in a stupor while in the presence of older daughter, Taylor, who can be heard in the video pleading with her father to stop being a drunk.  However, despite the scandalous video, Hasselhoff was awarded primary physical and legal custody of the kids in June 2007.  Then, a few months later in December, the two settled on a joint custody agreement.

10 Most Expensive Divorces in History

Marriage is supposed to be a perfect union; a partnership of two like-minded people who together become more than the sum of their parts, falling in love forever. Alas, this utopian ideal is far from reality for many people. Indeed, statistics show that the rate of divorce in America for a first marriage is 41%, for a second marriage it is 60% and for a third it rises to as high as 73%. Read more

10 Greatest Prenups in History

Prenuptials are big business, and if you’re wealthy and in love there’s a risk you could lose a lot of money by glossing over this vital document. Take celebrities Kelsey Grammar, for example: the Frasier actor didn’t sign one when he married his wife Camille Donatacci and she is now in line to receive $30 million of his $84 million fortune. Almost all of the most expensive break-ups are down to not having a prenup: Heather Mills and Paul McCartney, Mel and Robyn Gibson, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, you name it. But sometimes, even when the world’s richest people have thought ahead, the amount of cash involved in the split can still be phenomenal. Here’s our list of some of the biggest prenuptial settlements that have happened or could happen.

10. Beyonce and Jay-Z ($25 million or more)

There’s no telling how big the prenup is going to be until a divorce is actually finalized and an agreement has been set, but if this one did happen, it could be huge. Hip hop mogul Jay-Z and his new wife Beyonce have reportedly signed a prenup that promises her at least $10 million if the marriage fails within 2 years, plus an extra $1 million for every year they stay together thereafter. In addition, if the R&B singer has any of his children she will receive $5 million extra for every one. Beyonce is already worth $100 million herself, but according to the National Enquirer she could be entitled to $25 million if they split, and that’s not counting the children. 38-year-old Jay-Z’s net worth is estimated at $300 million.

9. Donald and Ivana Trump ($34 million)

Apprentice star and business tycoon Donald Trump is one man who knows the value of getting a watertight prenup. His first wife, Ivana, challenged the legality of their pre-marital document in 1991 and walked away with far more than she would have had it held up in court. According to reports, his former wife was given $20 million in cash, the $14 million family home and $350,000 a year in alimony.

8. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones ($40 million just for cheating)

A prenuptial agreement can be about anything, not just how to divide marital assets. It’s reported that the Douglas-Zeta Jones document has a paragraph about how much money Catherine stands to receive if her husband Michael is caught cheating. Plus, she’s entitled to £2.8 million for every year they’re married. The movie legend’s previous marriage to Diandra Douglas cost him $45 million when it ended in 2000 after 23 years, so maybe he’s trying to pin down every eventuality were he to go through another break-up.

7. Madonna and Guy Ritchie ($76 million)

When both parties are considered well-off it’s easy to wonder why they would bother to write a prenup document. But then there’s well-off and there’s being as rich as Madonna. Even though her new husband was an established and profitable film director when they tied the knot, nothing compared to the material girl’s wealth. After 8 years of marriage, and even though there was a prenup in place, Guy Ritchie still came away from their partnership with a reported $76 million.

6. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving ($100 million)

Amy Irving was an aspiring actress when she met the established director Steven Spielberg in 1984, so when they married each party signed a prenup. Four years later and Spielberg left his wife for another actress, Kate Capshaw. The scorned wife managed to get the couple’s original prenup thrown out of court – which wasn’t difficult as it was written on the back of a cocktail napkin, apparently. She was eventually awarded $100 million, which was half of his net wealth at the time. An expensive but utterly useless prenup, unless you want to mop up spillages that is.

5. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren ($110 million)

Mr and Mrs Woods ended their 7 year marriage in October 2010 after his string of affairs became public knowledge. The pair were going to make a go of it and rewrote the initial prenup; and to say sorry for his indiscretions Tiger had offered his humiliated wife a $5 million apology. But eventually Elin Nordegren filed for divorce. Under the newly written document the golfer had to pay out an even bigger amount. She walked away with a reported $110 million rather than the initial $20 million she would have received had they been married for 10 years.

4. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ($125 million)

A prenup can actually pay out during a marriage. Katie Holmes earns money for every year she stays with Tom Cruise and collects the $3 million annually. But the best part for Mrs Cruise? If they’re together for over 11 years the agreement is abolished and she is entitled to half of the mega-rich Hollywood star’s fortune. Reports say that’s roughly $250 million.

3. Jack Welch and Jane Beasley Welch ($150 million)

This is a prenup that went wrong. When Jane Beasley married wealthy CEO Jack Welch they signed a pre-marriage document that had a “sunset clause” in it. It meant that if the marriage lasted more then 10 years the prenup was null and void. That happened in 1999, and by 2002 Jane Beasley Welch was fighting for half of her ex-billionaire husband’s wealth. She eventually received $150 million from the former General Electric head.

2. Michael and Juanita Jordan ($168 million)

Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita split up in 2006 after 17 years of marriage. They had signed a prenuptial agreement which said Juanita would be entitled to half her husband’s fortune, but when it came to splitting up the marital money she only took a third. Still, that third was $168 million.

1. Robert and Sheila Johnson ($400 million)

Robert Johnson, the co-founder of BET and America’s first African-American billionaire, paid out a massive $400 million to his wife of 30 years when their marriage ended in 2002. The prenup held up in court and Sheila was awarded half of their joint assets, making it one of the biggest divorce settlements in history (even with a prenup!). Both have continued their business dealings, owning majority stakes in professional men’s and women’s basketball teams. Three years later and Sheila married William Newman Jr. who was the judge presiding over her original divorce case.

10 Celebrities Who Divorced Their Parents

While we might all have spent some time in our childhood wondering if we could be legally separated from our parents, it’s actually a pretty unusual thing to do – and with good reason. If a petition of emancipation is approved, the child takes on adult responsibilities in the eyes of the law (though that doesn’t mean they can drink or drive) and they must prove that they can support themselves. Yet whether it’s to take on adult responsibilities or to part from an unstable home, it’s a drastic decision to make. However, more celebrities than you might think have been granted ‘divorces’ from their parents when there are child and parenting issues affecting primarily the child. Here are 10 famous kids who divorced their parents:

10. Juliette Lewis

Wild child Juliette Lewis was emancipated from her parents at the age of 14, before moving in with family friend Karen Black and then into her own apartment. She then bought a car without a valid license, dropped out of high school and got into drugs. Then she appeared in The Wonder Years. She also dated Michael Dewitt, who worked as a nanny for Kurt Cobain … and Courtney Love.

9. Drew Barrymore

Another wild one, Drew was smoking at the age of 9, drinking at 11 and taking cocaine at 13. A regular at Studio 54, she was in rehab at 13 and attempted suicide when she was 14. Then she moved in with singer David Crosby, sobered up and a year later filed for emancipation – and has never relapsed since.

8. Courtney Love

Courtney Michelle Harrison certainly had a complicated upbringing, shooting from a hippie commune in Oregon to New Zealand and from boarding school to reform school. Following childhood highlights such as unsuccessfully shoplifting a Kiss t-shirt and applying for the Mickey Mouse Club with a reading of a Sylvia Plath poem, Love applied for and was granted emancipation from her mother, who was living on the other side of the world, at the age of 16. She went on to travel around the US, England and Ireland, living on a trust fund set up by her mother’s adoptive parents.

7. Frances Bean Cobain

However, that was only the beginning of the Courtney Love story. In 1992 she had a child with her husband Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who, in 1994, killed himself. Some years later, at the age of 17, Frances Bean was put into the custody of her maternal grandmother and her father’s sister. A restraining order was then put on Love forbidding her from any contact with her daughter.

6. Eliza Dushku

Dushku came from a happy home, completed high school and went to university. Why did the Albanian-Danish Mormon divorce her parents then? As a 17-year-old she filed for a petition to get around child labor restrictions, allowing her to spend more time on set filming for her role as Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

5. Bijou Phillips

At 15, Bijou Phillips left a home, where her father (John Phillips of The Mamas & Papas) and her sister were allegedly both taking cocaine, to live alone in a Fifth Avenue apartment with her own maid, while working as a model. Two years later, after becoming distraught over the heroin overdose death of her friend, 20-year-old socialite Davide Sorrenti, she went into rehab.

4. Aaron Carter

At the age of 16, Carter filed for emancipation from his mother, alleging she had taken $100,000 from his bank account without his permission. “I feel betrayed by my own mother,” he said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He later withdrew the petition and the pair reconciled.

3. Dominique Moceanu

Only 14 years old, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the US women’s gymnastics team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Three years later she sued her parents to find out what had happened to her money. The following month, her former coach skipped town after reports that Moceanu’s father, Dumitru, had hired a hit man to kill him. Dumitru later denied the allegations, but took the Fifth. Despite being emancipated, Dominique eventually reconciled with her parents.

2. Jaime Pressly

Jaime Pressly was another teen with a strong work ethic – she was granted emancipation at the age of 15 so she could take a semester out of school and accept a modeling job in Japan. Due to child labor laws she was required to travel with a legal guardian, but neither of her parents could attend, so adult status was essential. Coincidentally, however, her parents, who had been married for 21 years, were divorcing at the time – but as she says, “It wasn’t a Macaulay Culkin kind of thing…”

1. Macaulay Culkin

Beginning in Macaulay’s 14th year, his parents, who had never married, separated and began to fight over their (very successful) children – and $17m of little Mac’s money. His mother, Patricia Brentrup, subsequently won custody, and at 16 he took his parents to court to gain control of his earnings, eventually paying off Patricia’s legal debts and parting ways with his father. He would later divorce his wife of 2 years in 2000, at the age of 19.