The blogosphere’s abuzz with news that tween icon Miley Cyrus will soon wed her longtime boyfriend and rising star Liam Hemsworth.
While the pair’s been busy gushing about their pending nuptials on Twitter and hitting the tabloid circuit, they should schedule a pit stop at their attorney’s office if they know what’s good for them.
“They’re very young and there’s more of a chance that they’ll get divorced under those circumstances,” Marilyn Chinitz, family law partner at Blank Rome LLP, told BI. “She’s probably more protected at this juncture in her life but we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know who will wind up being the wealthier spouse.”
She has a point.
Together but unequal
At the tender age of 19, Cyrus is already sitting on an estimated billion-dollar franchise from her years doubling as Disney’s Hannah Montana. On the other hand, 22-year-old Hemsworth’s relatively new to the Hollywood scene, having launched his star as Cyrus’ love interest in the 2010 chick flick “Last Song.”
But now that the Melbourne, Australia native has nabbed a coveted role in the “Hunger Games” franchise, he’s already lined up starring roles in as many as seven blockbusters over the next couple of years, according to IMDB.
Cyrus’ resume is looking a bit less impressive these days, with just one comedy set for release this summer and not much else the way of film roles.
What she probably has, however, is a sizeable trust fund that she should do whatever it takes to protect. For now, her fortune is safe and sound, as assets earned before marriage are considered separate property in divorce court.
If she’s smart, she’ll keep it that way.
“Any good lawyer is going to counsel their client not to co-mingle separate property,” Chinitz says. The minute lovebirds start joint bank accounts and purchase real estate together, those assets are up for grabs if things turn sour.
Much of the couple’s decision on whether to get a prenuptial agreement will lie in where they plan to get married and live. Community property laws in California would divvy up anything the pair earns after marrying 50/50 in the event of a divorce, while New York law favours equitable division.
Given the fact that Hemsworth hails from Australia, there’s also the possibility the couple could wind up pulling a Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban move and laying their roots far from the prying eyes of American paparazzi.
If that’s the case, they can draw up what’s called a mirrored prenuptial agreement. Basically, that would ensure that whatever prenup they’ve filed in the states will transfer smoothly overseas.
“Laws (abroad) are very different than they are in the U.S. …You want to be sure wherever you go that you have an agreement the court recognises as fair and reasonable,” Chinitz says. “Why protect all of these assets if a court’s just going to throw it out?”
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