A celebrity marriage that lasts a decade is considered a long union by Hollywood standards. There’s also a legal aspect in some states like Texas, where waiting at least 10 years to divorce can affect a spousal maintenance decision.
Texas native Jennifer Garner and her actor husband Ben Affleck announced they were divorcing just after the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary. The parents of one son and two daughters, ages 3 to 9, have an estimated combined net worth of $115 million.
The couple’s marital home was purchased for $17.5 million in 2009. Affleck bought a $7 million property in a Southern state two years before marrying Garner. Typically, any assets acquired before marriage are judged to be separate property, although how the asset is handled later can affect property division.
Reports say Garner and Affleck will mediate their high asset divorce. The formal split is likely to lack the drama surrounding other celebrity divorces.
Affleck is believed to be the higher wage earner of the two. Forbes stated the actor raked in $35 million for his work last year. Garner apparently makes substantially less, although she has commercial spokesperson contracts with recognizable businesses like Neutrogena.
A spousal support award may or may not be part of a prenuptial agreement or any settlement a couple mutually agrees upon at the time of divorce. It’s not certain whether Garner and Affleck signed a prenup or included spousal support in a pre-marital agreement. The issue may be decided by a judge, if the terms are not predetermined and a dispute arises.
Community property rules apply in Texas as well as California, where the actors reside. Under family law rules in these states, spouses split all marital assets and debts equally when financial issues are not settled in advance. An attorney can assist spouses with property decisions before, during or at the end of a marriage.
Source: People, “Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Divorce: Inside Their Fortunes and What’s at Stake,” Jacqueline Andriakos, June 30, 2015