Actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have finalized their divorce in Southern California, three years after separating. While most of us don't have their kind of household income – two movie star salaries, after all – the limited details we know about their divorce do provide a blueprint for high-asset divorces in California.
Garner and Affleck married in June 2005 and separated just after their 10th anniversary. They have three children together, and combined, they have an estimated wealth of $190 million -- $130 million for Affleck and $60 million for Garner.
Earnings since their date of legal separation were not considered part of their marital assets.
But under California community property laws, the money the couple made during their 10 years of marriage belongs to both of them, no matter which one made what amount. California courts typically apply a 50-50 division of assets under all circumstances.
The 8,800-square foot family home they purchased in 2009 in Los Angeles County? Since the acquisition fell during their marriage, the interest in the property belongs to both of them. The 87-acre estate Affleck bought in 2003 in Georgia and now has listed for sale? The proceeds of that sale should go to him alone.
The length of their marriage – 10 years – also likely affected their final settlement.
In California, a judge may consider a 10-year marriage to be a long-term union. At that point, judges can award spousal support for a spouse's lifetime. While that is unlikely to be the case in this instance because of Garner's earning power on her own, it is very much an issue in other high-asset divorces.
"You hear a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, celebrities get divorced around the 10-year mark because if they don't, they'll be on the hook for spousal support to each other,' " one attorney told People magazine.
"Generally, the longer a couple has been together, the longer support they can get. But a lot of California courts don't prefer to award lifetime spousal support because they feel that if one of the spouses is able to support themselves then there's no reason to give them more," he continued. "It's really based on income and earnings."
This divorce has played out in the media over the past three years, but it has provided a reminder of the factors that go into high-asset divorces in the state.