Another divorce in Hollywood; not exactly front page news. The impending divorce between former California Governor and Hollywood blockbuster star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver is unique for several reasons: the length of their marriage, their net worth as a couple, and the infidelity committed by Arnold Schwarzenegger which included fathering a child with the couple’s housekeeper.
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger were married on April 26, 1986. Shriver is the niece of President John F. Kennedy and was a television journalist at the time of their union. Schwarzenegger was, at one time, the highest paid actor in Hollywood starring in such movies as The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, and Predator.
The high-powered couple quickly became a favorite among the media, and they seemed to have a happy and successful marriage. During this time, Schwarzenegger’s movie career flourished and they proceeded to have four children, two boys and two girls.
Arnold made the transition from acting to politics when he ran for and was elected Governor of California in October of 2003. Although Shriver stood at his side throughout his time as Governor, she now says that she has been unhappy in her marriage for some time.
The decision to end the marriage comes after the deaths of her beloved parents in 2009 and 2010. She moved out of the family home near Los Angeles, California, earlier this year and refused Schwarzenegger’s attempts to reconcile. There has been a lot of speculation about extra-marital affairs which Schwarzenegger later confirmed in a public statement. Schwarzenegger admits he fathered a son outside of his marriage. He did not identify who the affair was with, but it has been reported that the mother of his illegitimate son is the family’s housekeeper of twenty years, Patty Baena. It has also been revealed that both Baena and Shriver were pregnant at the same time in 1997 and gave birth just weeks apart.
Although no divorce papers have been filed, Shriver has hired Laura Wasser, a top Los Angeles divorce attorney. She released a statement on May 17th saying, “As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. This is a painful and heartbreaking time.”
It looks like the couple is worth between 200 and 400 million dollars. California is one of ten community property states. When a couple divorces in a community property state, whatever money they earned during their marriage, no matter who earned it, is shared. Whatever property and money you bring into the marriage stays yours alone as long as you keep it in your name separately. If assets are ever joined, then they will all may be considered community property.
California community property laws state that all property be divided equally between the two spouses, unless there is a written agreement that states otherwise. It is unclear if a pre-nuptial agreement was present before the marriage.
The separation between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver mirrors the grief and sorrow present in every family that endures divorce, although on a much more public stage. They work to shield their children from the details, divide family finances, and struggle to rebuild their lives apart from their spouse. If you need advice or have any questions about separation or divorce, it is time to talk to a divorce attorney.
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