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Zooey Deschanel, who wed in Washington state, files for divorce

High-asset divorces in Washington often involve a very complex division of assets. From prenuptial agreements to division of assets, spousal support and equitable distribution statutes - there is much to consider in regard to a dissolution of any marriage.

Recently, actress Zooey Deschanel filed for divorce and her finances were revealed to the public. The actress and musician married Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard in 2009 near Seattle. According to divorce documents, the 31-year-old Deschanel has $1.5 million in the bank and about $1.6 million in stocks and bonds. It has not been reported whether they have a prenuptial agreement that would come into play in a divorce settlement.

Because celebrity divorce proceedings often play out in the public eye, they have given us examples of the financial intricacies of divorce.

  • The recent release of a new film, "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," put the divorce of Michael and Diandra Douglas back in the spotlight 11 years after it was finalized. Diandra Douglas was awarded half of her ex-husband's assets in the divorce, as well as half the earnings of movies he made during their marriage. Because "Wall Street 2" is the sequel to a movie Douglas made during their marriage, Diandra Douglas has argued that she is entitled to half of its profits.
  • After a 29-year marriage, Mel and Robyn Gibson's divorce was finalized last month. The two were wed in the early days of his acting career and they did not have a prenuptial agreement. Mel Gibson lost half of his assets in the settlement, an estimated at $425 million. Robyn Gibson will also receive half of all the money he earns from now on.

While the fallouts of celebrity divorces often result in large payouts, the stakes are also high for couples who are not so wealthy. In some ways, it is more difficult to divide assets when there are less of them.

To write a prenuptial agreement or to deal with financial issues during a divorce, it may be wise to contact a Washington area family law attorney who can educate you about how to achieve the best possible outcome.

Source: The Daily Mail, "The $3 million divorce: Zooey Deschanel's earnings revealed as she files to end marriage to Ben Gibbard," Laura Schreffler and Iona Kirby, Jan. 5, 2012

Source: The Daily Beast, "Mel Gibson and More Biggest Celebrity Divorce Payouts," Paul Smith, Dec. 28, 2011

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