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What Can We Learn from Celebrity Divorces?

Gold Wedding RingsThe New Jersey Herald is reporting several high-profile divorces, including Jesse Jackson Jr.’s divorce nearly 5 years after the couple pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges, and Rudy Giuliani’s pending split from his third wife after nearly 15 years of marriage.

The Jacksons split after 27 years of marriage. In August 2013, they pleaded guilty to misusing approximately $750,000 in campaign funds by diverting the money for personal use. The divorce cites irreconcilable differences and the divorce settlement was not made public.

As our East Brunswick divorce lawyers reported recently on our New Jersey family law blog, irreconcilable differences is the cited grounds for divorce under New Jersey’s no-fault divorce.

Divorce Settlements in New Jersey

Reaching a settlement can be beneficial for most couples. It reduces the costs associated with a litigated divorce, and reduces the length of time it takes for a divorce to be finalized. But the privacy aspect of reaching a settlement is often of primary importance to celebrities or other high net-worth individuals.

However, splitting couples should not settle for purposes of avoiding a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney. Property division, tax implications, retirement benefits, health insurance, child custody and child support are just a few of the complex matters that must be finalized for each party in a splitting marriage to build their new life on a strong foundation.

The job of an experienced divorce attorney in such cases is not to insert conflict into negotiations with a spouse, but to help clients avoid the common pitfalls associated with divorce.

In some cases, reaching a settlement is not possible. In Giuliani’s case, the Herald reports the divorce is contested and both sides are gearing up for a fight.

Prenuptials and High Net Worth New Jersey Divorce

Giuliani reportedly told the New York Post that he has no prenuptial agreement in place, despite considerable wealth and having been married on two previous occasions. He reported his fortune at $30 million in 2007, when he submitted financial disclosures amid a run for President.

Both Giuliani and his estranged wife Judith Giuliani have filed paperwork requesting disclosure of each other’s net worth. While such a request might seem strange to many couples that have been together for 15 years, it is not uncommon for individuals to not know a spouse’s net worth, particularly for marriages that occur later in life.

In other cases, one spouse might make the majority of income, or have been in charge of family finances for the entirety of a marriage. This makes identifying and accounting for a couple’s assets of primary importance for a divorce attorney.

Too often couples see prenuptial agreements as acrimonious, or as planning for failure. In reality, a properly drafted prenuptial agreement can both reduce stress during a marriage, and reduce arguing and litigation if a split becomes inevitable. A prenuptial agreement can give a spouse assurance that can alleviate the need to stay in an unhappy relationship; protect significant assets of a spouse who brings substantial assets to a marriage; and help maintain privacy in the event of a split.

If you have questions about the division of assets or allocation of debt in a divorce, contact the East Brunswick divorce attorneys at Rozin-Golinder Law LLC by calling (732) 810-0034.

Additional Resources

Rudy Giuliani’s third wife files for divorce after 15 years, New Jersey Herald, April 4, 2008.

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