Berman & Asbel, LLP

Celebrity divorces can be instructive

While every couple going through a divorce faces different circumstances based on the situation, there are some fairly common denominators such as property division, child custody and alimony. Pennsylvania residents may benefit from some lessons that have been illustrated by some high-profile breakups, although some of the publicity that the events received turned out to be false.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner had a long marriage that many thought would last, and strategy on their part may have made their union survive a little longer. The Hollywood couple announced their breakup one day after their 10th wedding anniversary, and being married for at least 10 years can provide financial perks when dissolving a marriage. If a marriage lasted 10 years, the spouse who made less could receive Social Security benefits based upon the other party's earnings record. It is more likely, however, that the duration of this particular marriage was tied to a prenuptial agreement that the couple had signed.

Media reports indicated that reality TV star Bethenny Frankel was reportedly living with her ex even though they were in the middle of a divorce because they both feared losing their New York apartment by moving out. However, those stories were misleading, as it does not necessarily matter who lives in a property at the time of the divorce. If it was purchased during the marriage with joint assets, the real estate is considered to be marital property and thus subject to division.

While divorces between high-powered entertainers often make good reading, it is important that people who are going through the process base their decisions on sound legal advice. Each party should have separate legal representation when trying to negotiate a settlement.

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