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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorcing in California

It was recently announced that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are headed for divorce which immediately leads to thoughts concerning high asset divorces and the special complexities that can be involved with them. Pitt and Jolie are a particularly high-profile couple but divorce impacts all different types of couples, including those in the public eye and those that are not. As is true of many divorces, however, concerns will center on the children and property division.

In the case of Pitt and Jolie, the couple is estimated to be worth $500 million or more. If the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, state laws will govern the division of property and they may need to utilize a variety of resources, including alternate dispute resolution, to resolve property division issues and concerns. Properties the couple owns will need to be divided and will be divided based on value. It will be necessary for the properties to be appraised and other financial professionals may be needed to valuate assets the couple shares that must be divided. As is always true, the couple can agree on a fair settlement.

In the case of Jolie and Pitt, their assets with the highest value may be the royalties from their movies and not physical assets or cash on hand. Royalties from DVDs and online streaming -- if Pitt and Jolie have them -- are considered property that will need to be divided. For royalties on movies earned during the marriage, they can be considered marital property which is subject to community property division, which is a equal split, in California.

Property division is a significant issue for most divorcing spouses and can be particularly significant in circumstances of a high asset divorce. As a result, it is important for couples to understand the implications of property division in their state and now how to approach the property division process.

Source: Insider, "A top divorce lawyer explains what could happen to Brangelina's $500 million fortune," Jacob Shamsian, Sept. 23, 2016

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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