The latest Hollywood divorce drama comes as Amber Heard files for divorce after a 15-month union with Johnny Depp. Heard alleged an incident of domestic violence just days before she filed for divorce, and pictures later surfaced of her with a black eye. The media is abuzz with discussions of whether the abuse actually happened, or whether it was just a ploy on Heard’s part to gain sympathy and secure more money from the divorce.
As a divorce attorney, because the two didn’t have any children together, what interests me the most in this split are the financial issues that will arise out of their proceedings. Because it seems, that after a marriage that lasted just over a year, Heard stands to gain a significant amount of money by leaving Depp. The media has reported that Heard made roughly $260,000 in the past year from her various acting jobs and endorsement deals. On the other hand, Depp is reported to make about $20 million per film, making up to $100 million in one year alone (his reported income in 2010 was $100 million, although we do not know what his actual income in the past year was.)
If you’ve been following pop culture lately, you will know that Johnny Depp’s newest movie, Alice Through The Looking Glass, was just released. Based on the facts reported above, Depp may have made as much as $20 million from his appearance in this film. The big thing to note here is that the couple didn’t have a pre-nuptial agreement….oh Johnny you should have known better! Because California community property law states that income earned during a marriage is community property, that means that, if the movie was filmed during the 15 months of marriage, Heard is legally entitled to ½ of that income…which could be a whopping $10 million.
Not surprisingly, Heard’s divorce paperwork shows that she is also asking for spousal support. In California, courts will typically award spousal support for about ½ the length of a short-term marriage (defined by statute as a marriage lasting less than 10 years.) However, the court has a lot of discretion in the actual amount and duration of supports it awards. In this case, Heard is asking for $50,000 per month in spousal support, claiming monthly expenses in excess of that (including monthly rent of $10,000 and monthly entertainment and vacation costs of $10,000.) Must be nice, Heard! If the parties aren’t able to come to a divorce settlement amongst themselves, the court will take all of this into consideration when deciding how much support she is due, and for what amount of time.
Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.