Last week, news media outlets reported that actor Richard Gere, 64, was separating from long-time wife, actress Carey Lowell, 52. This news comes as a shock to some, as Gere and Lowell were married for 11 years, and cohabited for 7 years prior to marriage, an eternity by Hollywood's standards.
Lowell, probably best known for her work as the James Bond girl in 1989's "Licence to Kill" starring Timothy Dalton, met Gere in 1995, following Gere's divorce from supermodel Cindy Crawford. Lowell, who was also married two times previously, has a daughter from her second marriage to Griffin Dunne. Gere and Lowell also have a 13-year old son together.
The New York Post reports that the former couple have now separated and are planning to divorce. The decision to separate is thought to be the result of their different lifestyles: Gere, a practicing Buddhist, enjoying the quiet life and Lowell enjoying "socializing with other bigwigs."
While we hope the former spouses will be able to settle their separation amicably, there are certainly a number of issues that could become contentious.
For one, Gere and Lowell own a 12,000-square-foot property believed to be worth $65 million. According to The Daily Mail, Gere, alone is thought to be worth approximately $45 million. The property is located in Bedford Post, and used to be an 18th-century house and barn in Bedford, New York, just 45 minutes from Manhattan. The couple turned the property into a small luxury hotel, restaurant, bistro and yoga loft.
In Ontario, short a marriage/domestic contract, the value of the matrimonial home would be equalized according to Part 1 of the Family Law Act (FLA). If Gere and Lowell are joint tenants (meaning they each own a 50% interest in the home), then $32.5 million will be added to their net family property statement as the valuation date value of their home. Luckily, it does not appear that the home was owned by one party prior to marriage. Because the matrimonial home is treated differently than other property under the FLA, even if a spouse owns the property that becomes the matrimonial home on the date of marriage, they cannot deduct the marriage date value of the property, meaning that their net family property will be substantially higher.
Another contentious issue may be child support. According to news sources, Gere is very close to Hannah, Lowell's daughter from her second marriage. As a step-father, it is likely that Gere will be considered in loco parentis and will have to pay child support for both Homer and Hanna, provided Hanna is still a minor. While parents found to be in loco parentis are not necessarily obliged to pay Table support under the Federal Child Support Guidelines, it is likely that some support will be owed. And given Gere's high net worth and income, his spousal and child support obligations could be substantial.