Anyone with an interest in complex property division in a divorce proceeding might well consider the recent marital dissolution of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who, together, are likely among the wealthiest of celebrity couples.
“It’s going to be the most visible of divorces,” says one close observer of the split between two heavyweights: on the one side, a movie star titan, ex-governor and uber-rich business entrepreneur and, on the other, a woman from a wealthy family that comes as close to royalty as it gets in America.
Questions abound, of course. The foremost inquiry centers on whether the couple will divorce at all. Perhaps they can patch things up. Another question: If they do divorce, is there a prenuptial agreement to be found?
The latter question is intriguing. In the “statement of economic interests” document that is required to be filled out by all California governors, Shriver’s assets — which include stocks, real estate and trust funds — were listed as “separate property of spouse,” meaning that they would be off limits in a divorce proceeding.
The same is not true of Schwarzenegger’s interests, and California is a community property state. In the absence of a premarital agreement addressing property division, California law defaults to a 50/50 split between a couple concerning what was earning during a marriage, and the ex-governor has earned plenty.
“Schwarzenegger has a lot of dough and my guess is that he has a prenup,” says one attorney who has represented various movie stars in their divorces.
Others aren’t so sure, with some even stating that an agreement that might have been executed could conceivably contain — as some prenups do — a provision that calls for the contract’s termination after a specified period. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have already been married for 25 years.
Related Resource: CNN Money, “Arnold, you better have a prenup!” May 20, 2011