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Some of the Most Costly Divorces in the U.S.

Divorce is never easy and almost always comes with a sense of loss of life as you previously knew it. Divorce may cost a former spouse time with their children, property, and, of course, money. Most property acquired during the marriage will be divided in divorce in an equitable manner that is “just and right.” In determining an equitable division of money and property, courts will consider various factors, including:

  • Earning power of the respective spouses;

  • Each spouse’s education level and future employability;

  • The health of each spouse; and

  • The custody arrangement.

Agreeing on a divorce settlement can be acrimonious and unpleasant, especially when one spouse has earned significantly more money during the marriage than the other.  If there was no prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, the wealthier spouse will likely have to pay the other, whether it is in a lump sum payment or monthly support.

The following are some of the most expensive, high-profile divorce settlements reported in the United States:

Michael and Juanita Jordan:  The former professional basketball star and his wife ended their 17 year-long marriage in 2006.  Through his NBA salaries, acting jobs, and giant endorsement deals, Jordan had amassed a net worth over $600 million.  His divorce settlement ordered him to pay his former wife $168 million, plus she kept the family estate and custody of their children.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver:  Shriver filed for divorce after news broke that the movie star and former governor had fathered a child with the family’s housekeeper.  They had no prenuptial agreement, therefore Shriver was entitled to half of her former husband’s wealth under California law.  Though the final settlement figure was not made public, estimates for the settlement range from $250-$375 million.

Mel and Robyn Gibson:  The longtime couple divorced in 2011 after news of an affair surfaced.  The settlement required the movie actor to pay his former wife $425 million.

Rupert and Anna Murdoch:  This divorce, which took place in 1999 after 30 years of marriage, is widely considered to be the most costly divorce to date.  There was no prenuptial agreement and the settlement required the media mogul to pay his former wife a whopping $1.7 billion of his fortune.

Get Legal Help

Even though you may not have millions of dollars, handing over half of your worth will always have an impact on your life, and you should always have representation by an experienced Indiana divorce attorney. Even though the law sets out general rules for the division of property, courts still have significant leeway in decided exactly how to accomplish an equitable division.

In other words, the strength of your advocacy can play a critical role in determining what property you receive in a divorce. An attorney can advocate for your interests and ensure that you are not saddled with an unfair portion of marital debt and receive the assets to which you are entitled. Going at it alone or failing to hire an experienced advocate can greatly affect your life in the aftermath of the separation.

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