Food Network celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis must give up half her assets earned while married to ex-husband Todd Thompson as the divorced couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement when they married in 2003.
The couple’s divorce was finalized on September 3, 2015 after 11 years of marriage. The net worth of De Laurentiis is estimated at around $20 million, while her fashion designer ex-husband is reportedly worth $15 million. When De Laurentiis, 44, first married Thompson, her career was still in its early stages. During their marriage, De Laurentiis opened a restaurant and hosted several television shows on Food Network. She also wrote a number of cookbooks and launched a kitchenware line.
Many couples fail to anticipate their financial growth and success when they get married. A prenuptial agreement can help protect significant assets, along with giving each spouse control over how their money matters are handled in the event their relationship ends. A prenuptial agreement allows the couple to determine before the wedding how their assets and money will be divided in case they divorce. Per California family law if divorcing spouses do not have a prenuptial agreement, their community property is distributed equally between them. Community property is defined as the assets and income each partner acquires during a marriage.
As the higher-earning spouse, De Laurentiis will share with Thompson 50 percent of the profits from every cookbook she published during their marriage and half of the unpaid advances to upcoming cookbooks. They will also equally divide their various bank accounts worth more than $2 million. Had they signed a prenuptial agreement, De Laurentiis would have been able to protect much of her estate.
De Laurentiis and Thompson have chosen to share joint custody of their 7-year-old daughter. As both parties have the means to continue their current lifestyles, spousal support will not be awarded in this case.
Rather than indicating lack of trust, a prenuptial agreement can help to reduce unnecessary conflict between spouses regarding asset distribution in case of a split, which can adversely affect the children that are part of the marriage. A prenup is not just applicable to millionaires. It is a useful financial planning tool for anyone looking to protect their assets.
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Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.