Date of Separation May Prove Crucial in Ashton Kutcher/Demi Moore Divorce
For the average person seeking a divorce in Pasadena, the date of separation doesn't have a significant impact in terms of the value of the final settlement. For high net worth individuals, however, the date of separation sometimes makes quite a bit of difference.
Consider the highly publicized divorce between Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Although Moore was the higher earning party at the start of their marriage, Kutcher now surpasses her in terms of earning power. He is reportedly the highest paid sitcom star, pulling in $24 million per year after replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.
In addition to his acting, Kutcher has been involved in Grade-A Investments. This fund, valued at $100 million, supports tech-start ups. Kutcher owns 20% of the fund. Moore is seeking 50% of that asset, which amounts to $10 million. Kutcher argues that the fund's value isn't a marital asset because he didn't earn the money until after they had separated.
Kutcher filed for divorce in December 2012. Rumors of the couple's split had been circulating since mid 2011.
When there is a disagreement about the date of separation, the court will look at the couple's conduct towards each other to determine the appropriate date of separation. If one spouse moves out of the marital home, this might be seen as a sign of separation. However, in the case of Hollywood actors, living apart for a long period of time doesn't necessarily mean a couple intends to separate. Other signs, such as hiring an attorney or publicly announcing a split, might need to be considered.
California's community property laws state that money earned during a marriage belongs equally to both parties, regardless of who earned it. Money earned after the date of separation is considered the sole property of the person who earned it.
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