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Actor Schwarzenegger may face a costly divorce

Most people are familiar with Arnold Schwarzenegger, either as the former Governor of California or as the actor who plays macho roles in Hollywood production. What some of our Michigan residents may not know is that Schwarzenegger is now embroiled in a high asset divorce with his estranged wife, Maria Shriver.

According to media reports, Maria filed for divorce sometime in 2011 after news of Arnold's infidelity came to light. The actor had conceived a child with their maid, but had kept his affair and the child a secret for many years. His son from this affair is now 13 years old. Since the estranged couple is worth about $400 million, reports have suggested that the actor is purposely stalling the divorce proceedings; theoretically, once the divorce is finalized, Schwarzenegger may have to divide the assets and pay his wife nearly $200 million. The couple has been married for nearly 25 years and apparently does not have a prenuptial agreement in place.

Division of property and assets in any divorce proceedings can get complex. Even though Michigan is a no- fault divorce state, fault can play a role in how property is divided. Furthermore, in the absence of a prenuptial agreement between parties, courts will take into account the length of a marriage, and carefully look at what is and is not marital property.

Marital assets include, but are not limited to, any real estate, tangible property such as vehicles, jewelry, boats, bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts. High asset divorce and ensuing negotiations can get complex; as a result, parties may be confused about how to proceed. Thus, it is in the best interest of the parties to work together on an agreement as to how property should be divided. Rather than going at it alone, to avoid a power imbalance during such negotiations, and to work toward a fair and equitable decision, it is important to consult with an attorney for advice.

Source: The Inquisitr, "Arnold Schwarzenegger Could Fork Over $200 Million In Divorce Case," Jan. 12, 2014

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