Laws governing divorce and other family law matters, such as child custody and support, apply in the same way to all spouses and parents. However, distinctive issues may arise for actors, musicians, and other entertainers who are trying to preserve their financial security and relationships with loved ones. Many of these celebrities have set up pre-marital or post-marital agreements, which can provide a degree of stability in a profession known for its unpredictability. These agreements can limit the scope of the issues disputed in a divorce. However, they do not necessarily cover every issue related to a divorce, especially those that affect children.
For example, entertainers frequently travel for their work. They may spend long periods in other states or even other countries. This can complicate child custody or visitation arrangements, which usually provide a set schedule for children. An entertainer may need to set up a more detailed parenting plan with their ex-spouse, and they may need to seek more modifications to their plan than most ordinary parents.
Property Division for Entertainers
Entertainers often own numerous and diverse forms of property. For example, they may own real estate in several states or countries. They also may own or share ownership in businesses related to their careers. Entertainers may possess valuable intellectual property rights, which can be challenging for a court to assess if they originated partly but not entirely before the marriage. Moreover, a project may have been completed during the marriage but may not have earned any income for the entertainer until after the divorce proceedings started.
Any of these factors can lead to challenges during the property division process. The entertainer and their spouse each may need to retain financial experts to support their position. They also may need to consult tax specialists to advise them on the tax impact of the divorce.
Calculating Income of Entertainers
When a court determines child support payments, it usually will assess the income of each parent. A similar calculation occurs when a court determines spousal support (alimony) payments. Many entertainers experience dramatic fluctuations in their income. They often do not receive a regular salary but instead are paid by the project, and they may receive much more work in some years than others. Entertainers also may receive multiple sources of income, including some overseas sources, and they may undertake significant, unusual types of expenses. This may justify a deviation from the child support guidelines in their state, which usually impose a specific formula. The distinctive nature of entertainer income also may create a more frequent need for modifications.
Sometimes an entertainer may try to conceal income streams or property to minimize the resources awarded to a spouse or child. Financial experts can help the non-entertainer spouse or parent uncover hidden assets or income and protect their rights.
Emancipation of Juvenile Entertainers
Many famous actors and other entertainers begin lucrative careers while they are still children. In some cases, they may seek emancipation from their parent or guardian before they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in most states. This can allow them to manage their money and develop their career with greater freedom. State law provides specific requirements for emancipation. For example, in California, a juvenile seeking emancipation must be at least 14 years old and financially self-supporting. If a judge denies emancipation, the minor may be able to appeal that decision.