The American Psychological Association estimates that 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce. In Hollywood, this number is much higher; it seems like every day a new celebrity couple is calling it quits. This isn’t altogether surprising, as celebrity couples face more scrutiny from the public eye than a typical duo. If you are considering filing for a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, contact a family law attorney in Los Angeles for legal help and counsel. There are certain aspects of a Los Angeles celebrity divorce that don’t apply to the average relationship, however. What are the extra considerations in a celebrity divorce? We take a look at some unique aspects.
(Extreme) Conflicting Schedules
If you look at the highest divorce rates by profession, you’ll find that occupations like entertainment, health, and law enforcement have the most marriages that end in divorce. The common thread between these professions can be attributed to extreme schedules. Physicians, for example, work long hours and spend a lot of time away from their families. Law enforcement officers work equally long hours at odd times. Resentment may brew if the spouse feels his or her partner is choosing work over family.
For celebrity couples, this effect is magnified. Actors and singers may spend weeks or even months away from their families on location or on tour. This creates extreme issues when it comes to emotional support.
Filing for divorce can be a costly and drawn-out affair. For celebrity couples, divorce rates may be higher because it’s easier for them to divorce from an economic standpoint. While other couples may try to work out their differences due to financial constraints, Hollywood couples can divorce without regard to cost.
On the other hand, the amount of money involved may make the divorce proceedings more convoluted. Celebrity couples may be more likely to have prenuptial stipulations, but dividing assets can still be a dicey business. Usually, assets earned during the marriage period need to be divided. These can be royalties, salaries, or other resources of value. California, where many celebrity couples call home, is known as a Community Property State. As such, both members of a marriage are considered equal owners of any assets, so they must be split 50/50.
Probably the biggest thing celebrity couples fight over in divorce is the idea of intellectual property. According to Jeff Landers, Divorce Financial Strategist, some of the most contentious celebrity battles are over intangible assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights, or royalties.
As an example, he highlights the case of Michael Douglas and his first wife Diandra. Though the couple split in 2000, their settlement is being still being contested 15 years later. Why? Diandra contends that she’s entitled to half of Douglas’ earnings from his film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. According to their initial settlement, she is entitled to half of any money he earns from any Wall Street spinoffs. The crux of the current litigation is whether or not Money Never Sleeps is a sequel or a spinoff. If the courts find it’s a spinoff, she’s entitled to half of any future earnings. If it’s deemed a sequel, she gets nothing. It’s easy to see why celebrity divorces quickly become more contentious and drawn-out than typical proceedings.
Of course, there are other ways celebrity divorces differ from common ones; most of us, for example, wouldn’t think to hire a publicist to take care of the press coverage of our proceedings. Hollywood publicist Rob Shuter told New York Magazine that he has had clients tell him about their pending divorces before they let their spouses into the fold. These are aspects of divorce an average American couple can’t fathom.