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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How Much Money Is at Stake in the Brangelina Divorce?

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. (Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
Elizabeth Durand Streisand
Divorce is an ugly word — but when loads of money is at stake, it can get even uglier. Enter the latest Hollywood spouses to check out of their union: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. While the Internet is still reeling from the news that this golden couple is calling it quits, speculation is rising as to just what’s at stake considering the enormous wealth between them. The answer, however, may surprise you.
As a quick refresher in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, Brad and Angie (as we like to call them) met on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. He was still married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, but that didn’t last long. Aniston filed for divorce in 2005, and shortly thereafter, Brad and Angelina went public with their love by vacationing in Kenya. Since then, they’ve been busy: In between making movies, they’ve adopted three children — Maddox (now 15), Pax (now 12), and Zahara (now 11) — and had three biological children: Shiloh, 10, and 8-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.
They also bought and renovated a villa in the French countryside, where they make their own famous (affordable!) rosé. And in August 2014, they finally made it official by getting married.
But the important note here is the last one. While the stars have been a couple for nearly 12 years, they have been husband and wife for only two — and, based on California divorce laws, this means that nothing really “counts” in terms of wealth acquisition beyond the past 26 months. According to Forbes, they’ve earned a combined $117.5 million since that date, though Pitt contributed $76.5 million of that total, placing him far ahead of her in the earnings. (Though she wasraising six kids at the same time.)
While that sounds like a lot, it’s important to put this into perspective: Pitt has roughly $240 million to his name, while Jolie claims $160 million. In other words, he has more, but she still has, um, plenty. As a couple, they own Chateau Miraval (where they make that amazing wine), a mansion in New Orleans, and homes in Los Feliz and Santa Barbara, Calif. So how will their assets be divvied up?
Pitt and Jolie wed at Chateau Miraval, their home in France. (Photo: Splash News)
That depends on one important question: Do they have a prenuptial agreement? “If there is a prenup, the likelihood of these two people arguing over the validity of it is unlikely,” Los Angeles family law attorney Goldie Schon explained. “Both of these people have such high net worth, it would be crazy for them to argue over what they’d previously agreed to.” This would mean that whatever they had previously decided about how they would divide assets such as properties would be honored.
But while many outlets have speculated that the document does exist, Schon isn’t so sure. Reviewing the initial filing for divorce made by Jolie’s attorney, Laura Wasser, Schon noted that no prenup was mentioned. “I do not see in Angelina’s initial pleadings which she filed … anything about a prenuptial agreement,” Schon said before adding that based on her familiarity with Wasser, she believes that if Jolie and Pitt did, in fact, have a prenup, Wasser would have mentioned it in the initial filing. “I believe that if there was a prenuptial agreement, we would see some notation on the initial pleadings,” Schon said, adding that her guess was that “there isn’t one.”
But before you assume that means these two are sharpening their knives for the fight of the century, consider this: While they’ve acquired what would be a large sum of wealth to mere mortals during their rather brief tenure as husband and wife, it pales in comparison to the whole shebang, which means it is unlikely they will spend much time or energy splitting hairs over who gets what.
Further, Schon speculates that even without a prenup, they likely planned for an event like this. “The likelihood is that these people kept all of their stuff separate from the time they got married to the current, so with that, there’s not much to divide, if anything at all,” she said. (In other words, they knew better than to commingle their finances just because they were commingling their lives.)
Look for Angelina Jolie in
View photos
Look for Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent 2.” (Photo: Frank Connor/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
On that note, however, it’s also worth mentioning that Jolie has a sequel to her most successful (i.e. highest-grossing) film, Malificent, on deck — no doubt bringing another giant paycheck with it and another reason for her to want to keep her assets separate from Pitt’s. Though she initially didn’t seem interested in working on a second installment of this story arguing they “did it thoroughly” the first time around, she has since changed her tune and inked a deal with Disney for Malificent 2 in April. It’s not that surprising that the powers-that-be want to give that franchise another go considering the original Malificent grossed over $241 million at the U.S. box office. (Interestingly, her second-highest grossing flick was Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which rang up roughly $186 million.)
The only notable point about the filing, Schon said, was that Jolie was seeking full custody of their six children, but the lawyer added that Pitt most likely knew this in advance. Further, Jolie was not seeking either spousal or child support. The fact is that even if they did have a prenup, they wouldn’t have been allowed to prenegotiate any terms related to the children because the law doesn’t allow for that.
So what does Schon predict will happen? They will settle things quietly, privately, and quickly. “In the next couple of months, you will see a judgment that is entered that all things have been resolved,” she said. “I do not think they are going to air their dirty laundry.” She added that Wasser “has a reputation to keep things confidential and just quietly get things done,” which is one of the reasons she represents so many of Hollywood’s elite. (Wasser also representedJohnny Depp in his split with Amber Heard, which, Schon noted, would have been very private had Heard not been seeking her “15 minutes of fame.”)
All of this ultimately means that whether or not they have a prenup, it hardly matters because they are … both so rich.

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