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Celebrity divorces illustrate important legal issues

Someone going through a high-asset divorce in Texas will have many financial issues to figure out. Because celebrities often possess a variety of assets, their headline-grabbing divorces highlight factors important to nonpublic figures as well.

For example, the 2015 breakup of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner showed the importance that timing can play in a divorce. Their divorce officially began one day after their 10th wedding anniversary. At the 10-year point, certain financial rules typically apply. The spouse with the lower income becomes eligible to claim Social Security benefits based on the other party's earning records.

Struggles over the physical and intellectual property assets of celebrities also mirror the situations of other people. The public dispute between Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy over an apartment erroneously portrayed the notion that a person needs to reside in a home to retain rights to it in a divorce. In reality, assets, including intellectual properties like copyrights and patents, that were gained during a marriage are legally considered marital property unless the couple have agreed otherwise. Marital property will be divided according to negotiations and the law and not physical possession of it at the time of the divorce.

A person beginning a divorce that will involve a number of financial factors might need to seek assistance from an attorney. The divorce process following the end of a marriage requires complete financial disclosures by both parties. An family law attorney might help a client gather information. A forensic accountant might be brought in to look for hidden assets. Once a complete picture of finances has been established, the attorney could proceed to negotiate a comprehensive settlement agreement with the other spouse.

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