Criminal and Family Law

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Ashton Kutcher v. Demi Moore: Requesting Alimony and Property When You Don’t Need Support

By March 14, 2013Family Law

When Ashton Kutcher filed for divorce from Demi Moore, he sought only an equitable division of marital property.  Moore has now responded with a request for alimony and attorney fees.

My review of the parties’ divorce papers (provided by TMZ and Radar Online) revealed virtually nothing.  California’s divorce forms require little specificity. Both parties requested a division of community property but failed to provide the court with a list of assets.  Moore’s papers include a request for alimony and attorney fees but do not include specific amounts.  Nonetheless, Moore’s request for support has garneredthe attention of Hollywood reporters and critics.

Rumor has it that Moore is seeking alimony to compensate her for the emotional harm she suffered as a result of Kutcher’s affair with a younger woman.  However, like Utah, California law does not provide for an award of alimony on grounds of adultery.   The law focuses on the financial need of the party seeking support and the ability of the other party to pay support.

It is hard to believe that Moore has a need for financial support.  Moore has enjoyed major Hollywood acting roles in movies such as “A Few Good Men,” “Ghost” and “G.I. Jane.”  She is an expensive actress.  According to IMDB.com she earned more than $12 million for her role in “Striptease.”  She was also awarded a rumored $90 million in her prior divorce from Bruce Willis.  Reports estimate Moore’s net worth at $150 million and Kutcher’s net worth at $140 million.

Notwithstanding her past success, Moore is likely to receive a generous portion of Kutcher’s estate.  The reason: Kutcher’s wealth was accumulated during the marriage, while Moore’s was not.

California is a community property state, which means that each party is entitled to half of any assets acquired during the marriage.   Moore secured most of her major acting roles in the mid-90s.  She has secured an endorsement with Ann Taylor, but most of the income Moore received during her marriage to Kutcher came from residuals for past work.  Since the majority of Moore’s wealth was acquired prior to 2005, only a small portion of her estate will be deemed community property.

Kutcher, on the other hand, earned his highest salaries during his marriage to Moore.  Kutcher’s career is at its peak.  He has secured numerous television and movie roles since 2005 and has invested his profits in technology companies.   According to Forbes, at $24 million per year, Kutcher is today’s highest paid television actor.  Since much of Kutcher’s wealth was acquired during his marriage to Moore, his estate will largely be deemed community property, subject to equal division between the parties.

Regardless of whether Moore receives alimony or is awarded half of the couple’s community property, she will likely receive a sizable settlement from Mr. Kutcher.

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