Episode 183: Celebrity Divorce RoundUp featuring Attorney Fees, Child & Spousal Support, Pre & Post-Nups, and Social Media with Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Mary J. Blige, Kim & Kanye, Bethenny Frankel
Just this past week I had several of the topics on our show today come up with my clients. These topics have been mentioned separately in several of the celebrity divorce episodes, so I wanted to group them and provide thinking points for all of you.
I. Attorney Fees
There are totally cool attorneys who would never charge their clients money just to make more money than the work that is needed. And then there are those that see wealthy clients as on-going cash machines, dollar signs, means to the attorneys’ own wealth. Horrific!
I was told by an attorney recently that the concept of charging money to increase revenue, not as a result of providing necessary work, starts in college. Forbes.com conducted a survey in 2018 for the most and least trusted professions out of a list of 15 professions. Nurses were #1, doctors #2, lawyers #12, care salesmen #14, and Congress #15.The larger the hourly rate does not equal better work.
The public may be fooled by the size of the hourly rate. And you know how celebrities spend top dollar. But the paperwork for a divorce is the same regardless of how much money a spouse has or an attorney charges.
Beware of attorneys who might say something like, “Don’t speak to your spouse. All communication must go through the attorneys.” I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard this. Ridiculous! This is a way of creating more billable hours.
II. Don’t Play the Child and Spousal Support Game
Kelly Clarkson doesn’t. The child and spousal support game is diminishing personal income to diminish the amount of child or spousal support obligation. Make money. No Judge will allow you to intentionally decrease your earning capacity to decrease your support obligation, especially for child support.
You’re only hurting yourself when you try to decrease your income. Thrive. Be successful. It’s best for you and for your children. The money for child support, although it’s .put into the other parent’s bank account is for food, shelter and clothing for your child. And there are so many creative ways of dealing with spousal support: Dividing an asset to weigh heavily in favor of the support recipient as opposed to spousal support; a lump sum payment that is less than the accumulation of the years to be paid for, advantaging the recipient in ways that monthly support cannot; or a smaller amount monthly over a longer period of time, or a larger amount monthly over a shorter period of time.
Mary J. Blige said she had to start touring again to meet her spousal support obligations right after the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Erika Jayne said something weird on the most recent episode of the Housewives of Beverly Hills in the last episode. She said the divorce couldn’t move forward or she would owe her husband spousal support. Some of her castmates found that statement odd. I found it wrong. Spousal support is supposed to start when there are two residences, while the divorce is in process, which hers is
III. Pre-Nups and Post-Nups
Camille and Kelsey Grammer supposedly didn’t have a pre-nup and Camille said she got 50 million dollars from the divorce settlement. You know Kim & Kanye had one, if you know anything about the business acumen of these two people. Sounds like Kelly Clarkson kind of had one. Most people who have earned and accumulated a significant amount of assets pre-marriage want them protected as separate property going into a new marriage.
But how then do you intend to create community or shared assets? How is it possible to not create community assets during a marriage? Why would you marry if you don’t want to create something of value together – beyond your love for one another – by getting married?
And then there’s the post-nuptial agreement, and agreement just like the pre-nup but after the marriage has taken place. These agreements seem to have more impact to me because they aren’t contingent on getting married. They are done after the marriage ceremony, which somehow translate to very serious meaning and intention to love first, and assign stuff to each other later.
IV. Social Media
Just stop talking. Stop posting. Stop blathering your stuff everywhere. No one needs to know every detail of your life. And divorce is such an emotional roller coaster, don’t buy a ticket to the social media coaster. The ride can end in disaster. What you say on social media could set you up for adverse decisions made by the Judge, or you can expose your hand, your strategy if you’re litigating.
Both Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have misused social media if they are invested in protecting their children from the drama of their divorce. Kanye is volatile; anything can set him off as we’ve seen if you follow him on social media. And the world doesn’t care or need to know who she’s dating until the divorce is final and the relationship is long term, committed and monogamous. Why hurt Kanye by posting about Pete Davidson? Does this really increase the number of shape wear sold?
Tips for Divorce Success
Whether a celebrity or not, hire an attorney with a good track record, a heart, and a conscious.
Be the best earner you can be and live your life without fear of child and spousal support/alimony.
Protect separate property assets, while defining how to grow as a community, a couple, a family. Pre-Nups, Post-Nups, I say “Nope” to living completely separate financial lives as a married couple. Damn near impossible.
Social Media can become a very unsocial environment if you expose yourself and your dirty laundry of the marriage and divorce to the world.
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