The biggest celebrity divorce and possibly financial settlement of the year is underway between Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, aka the “Brangelina divorce” who have an estimated combined net wealth of $530 million.
On the chopping block of assets, which no doubt have pre-nups attached, are a dozen exclusive properties including one for each of their six children, according to Stuff.co.nz.
In most cases, a relationship breakdown does not happen overnight and with Brangelina, media reports say that the breakdown of their 10-year relationship happened some time ago and ended with reports of an affair between co-star Marion Cotillard (which she has denied) and other women.
What we’ve seen from Angelina Jolie is a woman on the front foot as details of their private relationship appear to have been leaked to press begging for more.
Among the reports are those that say she is going for full custody of their six kids, that she reportedly hired an under cover detective and that Brad has a history of ranting at their kids and drinking too much.
Clearly the situation has become untenable but really the Brangelina divorce is nothing new, just more juicy because of their celebrity status and the wealth attached to it.
Indeed Australia’s own Naomi Watts is also in the spotlight after announcing a split from husband Liev Schreiber after 11 years.
In Australia divorce rates sit at one in three – so it’s common but not a certainty.
Still if you feel that your relationship is on the rocks, Twelve Wealth’s Cathryn Gross has a few tips to help you get financially prepared for the separation.
“Emotions and money are not great dance partners, so if you wait until your relationship is irreparable and then try to use money to take back control of your life, it’s almost a certainty that the divorce will not go well.
“Utilise the services of a skilled separation and divorce adviser to help you navigate both the emotions and negotiations involved in a separation – hopefully this can alleviate the need for expensive lawyers and a drawn out court case.
Gather your financial documents
“If you don’t have a file containing all of your financial documents, now is the time to make one.
“It should include bank account details, mortgage and credit card statements, tax returns, details of shareholdings, etc.
“Gathering this information together now makes all the difference if you have to start negotiating finances during emotional times.
Create your own annual report
“You are your own greatest asset so understand your worth (and your potential) by creating a balance sheet and profit and loss overview for you and your family.
This is actually much easier than it sounds. Start out by listing all the assets you know your family owns and all of the debt.
“Then work through your family’s income and expenses. This means creating a budget, which will give you a real feel for your cost of living in your marriage.
“It will also provide the first step towards drawing up a budget to live on outside your marriage.
Establish your own bank account and credit card
“For many married couples, all finances are shared. But come separation, you will probably want some financial independence and might also decide you do not want your soon to be ex to know how you are spending your money.
Set up private ways to communicate
“Once your divorce is under way you will want all of your correspondence with your advisers to be private.
“Consider setting up your own new email address and perhaps a private post office box so that all your official documents are not sent to your home.
“Divorce is an emotionally turbulent time, but once you’re are on the other side you want to ensure that you have put your best financial foot forward for creating a stronger future.”