Stormy Seas Ahead for Captain Jack Sparrow – What We Can Learn From Johnny Depp’s Divorce Woes

Posted on June 2, 2016

It has been widely reported that last Monday, 23rd May 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp after just 15 months of marriage. She then requested spousal support which Mr Depp asked the judge to deny and requested that she pay her own legal fees.

However, these financial troubles look to be only the beginning for Johnny Depp as it is reported he and his wife did not have a pre-nuptial agreement. This leaves his multi-million dollar estate, estimated around $400 million, very vulnerable.

Under Californian law, Amber Heard could be entitled to at least half of however much their income has increased during their marriage. On top of other income, it has been reported that Johnny Depp received an estimated $61 million for his role in Alice Through the Looking Glass and $40 million for Black Mass. Whereas, it is reported Amber earned an estimated £383, 000 during her marriage. Even after expenses are deducted from these sums Ms Heard could be entitled to a large sum of Johnny’s fortune.

Pre-nuptial agreements show what the couple wish to happen to their money and property should their marriage or civil partnership end and ensures a reduction in the expense and time involved in ancillary relief proceedings. This document is bespoke and can include any individual wishes the couple may have. Although not binding in UK courts a pre-nuptial agreement is still very influential and will almost always be followed unless unfair or there is evidence of undue influence or pressure.

Pre-nuptial agreements are often an oversight in the rush and excitement of getting married. However, as under English law, the starting point for the division of assets in divorce or dissolution is equal shares, they are a sensible safety-net.

It has also been reported that Amber Heard has obtained a restraining order from Johnny Depp due to alleged domestic violence. Amber has since claimed that there was a catalogue of abuse, both physical and verbal, since the beginning of their relationship. It is important to note that whilst Ms Heard has obtained the restraining order these allegations have not been proven and Mr Depp and his legal team have denied them.

Whilst these allegations are rocking the world of Hollywood, claims of domestic violence have become more and more prevalent in divorce and family law proceedings. Although more people are starting to come forward more frequently;  Standing Together Against Domestic Violence state that up to 81% of domestic violence crimes go unreported, typically until family law proceedings commence.

There are options available to ensure protection in these circumstances such as a non-molestation order, to ensure the safety of yourself and/or your children, and an occupation order, to ensure your right to live in and protection within your home.

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