By Bonnie A. Rabinovitch-Mantel, CFLS.
The tabloid channels have been particularly abuzz as of late, as world famous actor Johnny Depp and his soon-to-be ex-wife, the actress Amber Heard, are embroiled in a very ugly, very public divorce. Much has been made of Heard’s claims that she was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Depp, with some allegedly telling photos surfacing in various media outlets. Meanwhile, many of Depp’s friends—and even his former partner, Vanessa Paradis—have come forward in his defense. While the domestic violence allegations, true or not, are best left to the courts to decipher, there is the secondary matter of Depp’s sizable fortune.
According to an E! News report, the duo—who had been married about fifteen months before Heard filed for divorce—did not sign a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot back in February 2015. Heard, 30 years old, has enjoyed her fair share of Hollywood success through the years, from modelling campaigns to roles in films such as Magic Mike XXL and the recent Oscar favorite The Danish Girl. However, Depp—at age 52—has a career that has spanned decades, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. According to E!’s story, he is not only the owner of his own private 45-acre island in the Bahamas, Depp also owns six homes and a 156-foot yacht. Forbes magazine even pinned Depp as one of Hollywood’s most overpaid actors, though his Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has netted $3.7 billion collectively.
This is all to say that much is materially at stake when it comes to dividing assets and awarding spousal support in Southern California, not to mention the amount of controversy generated by Heard’s domestic abuse allegations. According to reports, Heard’s filings indicated her intention to secure spousal support, as well as full coverage of her attorney fees. The divorce filing, obtained by E! News, states: “Petitioner's separate property assets and debts are unknown at this time. Petitioner shall seek leave to Amend same when such is ascertained.”
For his part, Depp filed a counter-position not long after, asking that both parties pay their own respective fees, and that the court “terminate its ability to award support to Heard,” according to the same E! News story. Though divorce proceedings have barely begun, it seems as though a lot of controversy is in store for the famous pair. As the two did not sign a prenuptial agreement in Southern California before they wed in 2015, and Heard nets markedly less than Depp, it is entirely possible that the court will award Heard a fair amount of spousal support. To boot, the couple wed right here in California, which is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. Though the abuse allegations against Depp will certainly merit further investigation, spousal support allocation will surely take a secondary stage as more details emerge in the Depp/Heard divorce.
No matter how things shake out between Depp and Heard, there are bound to be experienced Southern California divorce attorneys at the helm on either side, ensuring that no stone is left unturned when it comes to securing a divorce for the famed former couple.