Moore and Kutcher: the breaking of a pre nup

Ashton Kutcher at the Huffington Post Pre-Inau...
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Despite his forays into the twitterverse, apparently Ashton Kutcher forgot to read my tweet (@luvyrdivorce) about Eva Longoria from last spring… when Eva Longoria tried to avoid her own pre-nuptial agreement.

To wit:  Pre nuptial agreements are frequently used in marriages when the parties want a clean record of who brought what to the marriage and what each party may expect to keep at the end of the marriage.  Apparently, Longoria’s prenup with Tony Parker included a clause that she would not seek  alimony if they were to divorce.  By avoiding her pre-nup, Longoria ran the risk of exposing her own assets to redistribution…the move goes to a deeper understanding of the motivations of divorcing parties.

No matter what causes a marriage to break down and no matter how many years the breakdown may take, once a married or divorcing party becomes romantically involved outside the marriage, all other bets are off.  This tends to enrage the forsaken spouse and otherwise amicable divorces quickly become unbalanced blood baths.

Demi Moore in profile at the 1997 Emmy Awards,...
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Demi Moore had a successful career (she was the first actress to reach the $10 million salary mark, and during the early 1990s she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood), a successful divorce from Bruce Willis (with 3 beautiful daughters they still co-parent), and a substantial bank account when she married Kutcher (16 years her junior) 6 years ago.   She was smart to protect herself by insisting on a prenuptial agreement.

Now, by trying to open their pre nup, she runs the risk of her own assets being attacked.  Yet, it is worth it to her to begin a fight with Kutcher over assets as a way of punishing him for his reported infidelities.  Nothing hurts a potentially friendly divorce as badly as one (or several) extra marital affair(s).

As I repeatedly advise my clients: wait until your own divorce is final before you become romantically (or sexually) involved with someone new.  Your true person will still be there at the end of the process and you may save yourself years of aggravation and thousands of dollars by ending one relationship before beginning the next.  (Or, in the case of Kutcher and Moore, hundreds of thousands of dollars.)

What We Love:  Patience.  Divorce does not last forever. But an angry spouse can make it feel like forever.

What factors might a judge consider in Elizabeth Hurley’s divorce?

Elizabeth Hurley has filed for divorce from her husband of four years, Arun Nayar.  She was worth 13 billion pounds or so, before they married, from her work as a model, actress, spokesperson and designer.  Hurley is also famous for her bad relationships.  She helped make Hugh Grant famous by staying at his side, as his girlfriend of 11 years, after he was caught paying a prostitute.  Then, after she and Grant split, she gave birth to a son but had to use a paternity test to convince the biological father of his role in the boy’s life.

Then, in 2007, she married Nayar, a supposed heir to a fortune, but it turns out she is worth substantially more money than he is.  He refused to sign a prenuptial agreement which might have protected her – and her son – in case of a divorce.  Hurley and Nayar have been separated for several months.  This was made public after she was caught kissing Australian cricket player Shane Warne.  (Shane Warne is divorced from his wife, still lives with her and their children and has been reportedly involved recently with an adult film actress.)

Hurley does not seem to have great luck with men.

So, when Elizabeth Hurley goes before divorce court what factors might a judge consider in how much of Hurley’s money to award to Nayar?

*          How much money did each party bring to the marriage?

*          What ability does each party have to earn money after the divorce?

*          How will Nayar’s lifestyle be effected if he is not supported by Hurley?

*          How will Hurley’s lifestyle be effected by having to support Nayar?

*          Has Nayar contributed to the support and well-being of Hurley’s son? If so, their may be a child-support offset to some of the award.

*          How much education does each party have?

*          Some jurisdictions consider the causes of the breakdown of the marriage.  Hurley has cited Nayar’s “irrational behavior” as the cause of the divorce and can probably substantiate Nayar’s relationship with a 23 year old model.

*          If Nayar is heir to a major textile fortune, as reported, he might stand to inherit significant money in the future.  If so, depending on how soon and how much he stands to inherit, a judge might weigh these factors against a need for Hurley to continue supporting him.

What we love:  The court’s first consideration must be, as must Hurley’s, the best interest of the minor child. So long as his interests are protected his mother might be out some money or his step-dad might be feeling the pinch soon; but the 8 year old should be fine.

 Let’s hope his mom starts making better decisions after this!