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What Can Celebrity Divorce Teach Us?

What Can Celebrity Divorce Teach Us?

Date: March 07, 2017
In: Divorce

There is always much interest in celebrities’ private lives, and news outlets in Chicagoland and across the country often report on celebrity breakups and divorces. What were some of the most notable celebrity breakups and divorces over the last year? And what can celebrity divorces teach us about high asset divorces and child custody (or parental responsibility) matters in Cook County? In short, celebrity divorces are not so different from divorces of ordinary Illinois residents, especially when those Illinoisans may be involved in a high net worth divorce or a long-term marriage divorce.

How Celebrity Divorces Can Help Us to Consider High Asset Divorce Issues

One of the most significant ways in which celebrity divorces might provide insight into non-celebrity divorces concerns matters specific to high net worth couples. Given that many celebrities are involved in high asset divorces—and many without prenuptial or premarital agreements—the ways in which the spouses and the courts handle these cases can be revealing.

First, let us consider the matters of property division. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/), property division during divorce involves the court equitably dividing marital property between the spouses. As the statute explains, the court typically will consider marital property—and property thus subject to division during divorce—to mean “all property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage.” Generally speaking, any property acquired before the marriage and after the divorce is granted will be considered non-marital property and thus not subject to division. However, most other property acquired during the marriage, unless there is an exception, will be divisible.

As a recent article in Time Magazine explains as it discusses the pending divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, there is significant “wealth and potential income in the Jolie-Pitt household . . . up for grabs.” For instance, the article cites “multiple homes—they have a place in California, another home in New Orleans, career earnings, future royalties and works in progress.”

Similarly, many wealthy Illinois couples will be facing the same issues and questions when it comes time for property division. Each asset will need to be properly valued, and assuming it is subject to division, will need to be divided in a manner that is equitable to both parties.

Celebrities and Child Custody Issue

Celebrity divorces can also illuminate financial issues surrounding child-rearing, as well as issues of child custody, which now fall under the term of “parental responsibilities” under Illinois law. For instance, the Time Magazine article notes that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will need to grapple with financial matters concerning child-rearing, in addition to matters of child custody and visitation (now called “parenting time” in Illinois).

And celebrities’ child custody stories highlight the importance of working with an experienced divorce lawyer in order to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. For example, in the highly publicized child custody case of Kelly Rutherford, the actress was unable to win a custody battle that would have required her kids to move back to the U.S. to live with her, according to an article in the Washington Post.

Discuss Your Case with a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Publicized celebrity divorces highlight that many issues in celebrity divorces also become prominent in non-celebrity divorces in Illinois. If you have questions about high asset divorce, child custody or parental responsibilities, or other related family law matters, an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer can assist you. Contact SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC today.

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