Teenage Dream Turns into Adult Nightmare

Maybe Russell Brand can finally find the time and afford to get a haircut. After just over a year of marriage, Mr. Brand has filed for divorce from everyone's favorite pop sensation, Katy Perry.

By the state law of California, where the unhappy couple filed for "no fault" divorce, Brand could be entitled to half of Katy's fortune.

Unfortunately for Ms. Perry - one of the world's biggest musical artists - the duo did not enter into any form of pre-nuptial agreement, and her less famous, but still relatively rich soon-to-be-ex, stands to gain up to $40 million in a lump sum, 50/50 settlement. This is all according to the Daily Star, a British entertainment news source. We all make mistakes, but $40M is a pretty big mistake.

It was kind of a somber way to spend the holiday season, but Mr. Brand and Ms. Perry spent Christmas thousands of miles apart, as Katy made her way to Hawaii while Mr. Brand was back home in England. According to TMZ.com, the source of the sourness between this celebrity couple was Ms. Perry's desire to party and Mr. Brand's more laid back idea of weekend entertainment.

In spite of that, there is apparently no ill will between the parties and they both agreed that filing for divorce was the right move.

There are rumours swirling to the contrary, however, some even suggesting that Mr. Brand "blind-sided" Ms. Perry with the divorce because he was the one who filed the papers. TMZ.com has since reported that Mr. Brand did the filing because Ms. Perry was afraid that initiating the proceedings on her own would upset her staunchly religious parents.

The most-talked about issue surrounding this separation is the potentially large payout that Mr. Brand may receive. For a marriage of such short duration, it seems ludicrous that an already wealthy person would be entitled to half of the couple's combined fortune.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony and how equalizing net family property works in Ontario. The same formula and procedure may apply to Russell Brand and Katy Perry; however there is a mechanism in place to protect Ms. Perry from having to make a gargantuan equalization payment.

Section 5(6)(e) of the Family Law Act reads as follows:

Variation of share

The court may award a spouse an amount that is more or less than half the difference between the net family properties if the court is of the opinion that equalizing the net family properties would be unconscionable, having regard to,

(e) the fact that the amount a spouse would otherwise receive under subsection (1), (2) or (3) is disproportionately large in relation to a period of cohabitation that is less than five years.

The laws of California may not contain a similar clause, but given the extremely short duration of their marriage and imagining for a minute that Mr. Brand and Ms. Perry were residents of Ontario, a judge has the discretion to decide that giving Mr. Brand upwards of $40 million would be unconscionable.

Hopefully, this information puts all the extremely wealthy engaged people out there at ease. There are never any guarantees when you walk into a courtroom, but the legislation above would certainly make it difficult for someone in Ontario to get a divorce within the first five years of their marriage and secure a half interest in the assets of their spouse, wealthy or otherwise.

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