A Whale of a Settlement for Seal?
As mentioned in last week's blog, there are a myriad of issues to consider when it comes to the pending divorce between model Heidi Klum and the artist known as Seal. Since we've already discussed the custody of Seal's non-biological child, we should move on to the next most interesting topic - what is going to happen with all the money? All we know so far is that there is a lot of it.
According to Forbes Magazine, it is unclear whether or not there is a pre-nuptial agreement between the parties. This can certainly make distributing millions and millions of dollars between these two quite difficult. One would like to think their presumably high-priced lawyers had the common sense to make them sign one.
As happy as a couple as they may have been, we all know the divorce rate between celebrity couples is astronomically high. So high in fact, it necessities a weekly blog!
The parties were married for seven years. According to Forbes Magazine, over the past 10 years Ms. Klum's earnings were approximately $108.7 million, plenty of which was earned via her contract with Victoria's Secret. She now has a lucrative contract with New Balance. Forbes' estimations indicate that Ms. Klum's net worth is significantly higher than Seal's – $50 million to $70 million versus $10 million to $15 million.
Perhaps the sales of Seal's new album can help rectify that? Regardless, it wouldn't have an impact on any equalization payment he may be entitled to.
In Canadian law (and let's assume for a minute that the parties are Canadian), any money earned post-separation does not have an impact on equalization. Post-separation income is, however, relevant to spousal and child support payments.
If we also assume each of the parties' Net Family Properties is reflective of their estimated net worth, then how would the division of their finances play out?
Section 5 of the Family Law Act, which applies to married couples going through the divorce process, reads as follows:
Equalization of net family properties
5.(1) When a divorce is granted or a marriage is declared a nullity, or when the spouses are separated and there is no reasonable prospect that they will resume cohabitation, the spouse whose net family property is the lesser of the two net family properties is entitled to one-half the difference between them.
Assuming the estimates in Forbes Magazine are accurate, then how much money would Seal be entitled to? According to the Family Law Act, he could receive anywhere from $17.5 million to $30 million. From an outsiders perspective, it may seem absurd that someone with a net worth of $10 million+ could be entitled to many more millions of dollars, but under typical circumstances (i.e. when the numbers aren't staggeringly high) entitlement to half of the difference of each parties' Net Family Property seems more "fair."
For Ms. Klum's sake, let's hope that pre-nuptial agreement does in fact exist.