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.