Monthly Archives: June 2016

Lessons from high-profile divorces

North Carolina fans of actor Johnny Depp may have followed news of his divorce from Amber Heard. Depp is also selling off some of the paintings from his art collection, but insiders say it is probably not related to the divorce. Depp and Heard married in California, a community property state, and the marriage only lasted 15 months. Depp has been collecting the paintings since the 1990s, so it is unlikely they would be considered marital property. However, there are circumstances in which a divorce would prompt just such a sale although it is important that a person who is doing so does not attempt to sell the assets for less than they are worth to reduce the marital estate’s value.

Some people may try to avoid litigation because they want to avoid a lengthy divorce battle or would like to avoid the publicity. Divorce involves having to share financial information, and a high-profile couple might prefer to keep that information private. For example, a former head of General Electric found himself investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission after the details of his retirement package worth more than $2.5 million annually that came out during the proceedings appeared in the media.

On the other hand, some couples cannot afford to divorce. The cost of renting separate homes or paying health insurance may be too steep, making them decide after all to stay together.

A person’s financial situation can have a profound effect on how certain divorce legal issues such as property division are approached. A family law attorney can often take that into account when negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement.

$10 million settlement possible for Amber Heard in Depp divorce

North Carolina residents might be interested in learning that Amber Heard, the actress who is separating from Johnny Depp, could stand to gain as much as $10 million from her divorce settlement. If the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, she will be entitled to receive a big chunk of the money he made during their marriage, including a portion of the profits he earned from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Heard has filed a temporary restraining order against Depp citing domestic violence. If she decides to pursue a civil case over the charges, she may be awarded more money.

Heard is asking for $50,000 a month in spousal support. Experts state it is unlikely she will be successful in getting spousal support for very long because the marriage only lasted 15 months. If she does get spousal support, she will likely only receive it for six months to a year.

When a high-profile couple gets divorced, they often have to deal with the media reporting on everything that happens in their case. In order to avoid negative publicity, couples such as Depp and Heard often try to negotiate agreements instead of waging a very public war in court. Before getting married, people with high assets may want to talk with a family law attorney about the wisdom of drafting prenuptial agreements. Doing so may protect their financial interests as well as their privacy if the marriage later goes south. An attorney might be able to help draft agreements that can protect their clients and keep cases from very public litigation.

Source: The Wrap, “Amber Heard could get $10 million in Johnny Depp divorce, expert says,” Tim Kenneally, June 1, 2016