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Factoring in non-economic contributions to high-asset divorce

There are many complex factors that go into the ultimate result of a divorce between couples with significant assets. Particular circumstances mean that all cases are different, but Las Vegas readers can still take lessons from other divorce cases.

A recent divorce filing by reality television star and mogul Bethenny Frankel has shocked many of her fans. Ms. Frankel separated from her husband of about three years recently and filed for divorce after the holidays this year. Ms. Frankel is well known for her television appearances and for her healthy lifestyle brand, Skinnygirl.

This divorce may be complicated because the couple was involved in a business venture together when they were featured on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York and later stared in their own series. Ms. Frankel’s business grew tremendously during that time, and her soon-to-be ex-husband’s attorneys may argue that his participation in the television shows substantially contributed to her success.

Divorce courts consider when a spouse has been of substantial material support to the other’s career in making decisions about division of assets, child support, and spousal support payments. In cases like this one where the businesses were largely held by Ms. Frankel but were supported significantly by her husband’s advice, support, and direct participation.

While most Nevada readers don’t have their own cocktail company and haven’t’ stared in a reality show, many people mix business ventures with their personal life. Particularly in high-asset couples, it is very common to informally assist a spouse with a business venture or to support their ambitions by taking on a majority of the domestic work. These contributions are very valuable and can be considered during a divorce proceeding.

The ultimate outcome of this case will rest on those determinations as well as the contents of a prenuptial agreement that the couple signed in 2010.

Source: Huffington Post, “Bethenny Frankel Divorce Details,” Reality Star Asks for Primary Physical Custody,” Jan. 7, 2012.

To learn more about dividing businesses during a divorce, visit our Las Vegas divorce site.

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