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Courteney Cox and David Arquette file divorce docs, sans lawyers

Last week in our Phoenix Divorce Law Blog, we discussed the lessons that can be learned from celebrity divorces. Since then, actress Courteney Cox of "Friends" fame and her husband, actor David Arquette, have filed for divorce. The two reportedly filed their divorce petitions themselves, and there is no indication that they will seek legal counsel.

Given that the couple was married for 12 years, they have a child together, own a business together, have no prenuptial agreement and are each worth millions of dollars, the decision to file pro bono is quite odd. According to the divorce filings, they would like joint custody of their 8-year-old daughter. Because they live in a community property state and they have not sought legal counsel, it appears they would like to split their marital assets 50/50.

Even if Cox and Arquette are quite content to split the assets in half, and they truly plan to remain best friends as they have been quoted the media, there are still many legal concerns to consider. When divorces are amicable and each party agrees on every single thing, there are still several things it may be wise to have a divorce attorney review. A few of these things are:

  • Do you want to put a specific parenting plan in place? This can detail schooling, medical care, daily upbringing and discipline practices, allowance, religious practices and anything else that you want to be consistent between households. Additionally, do you want to document who will pay for education expenses? Taking care of these decisions now helps things run smoothly for your child later.
  • How will you run your family business post-split? Profit-sharing? Will you sell the business? How will its value be appraised?
  • There are a variety of tax issues, such as who will claim the child as a dependent, that should be decided.
  • When splitting assets 50/50, will you split each asset in half, or does it make more sense to each keep a few assets in full?
  • How will you allocate debts that were incurred before and during the marriage?

These are just a few of several issues that a family law attorney will study during a divorce. It is important that those going through a divorce understand all of the effects of legally ending a marriage partnership and that an objective party looks at the decisions and ensures that the terms of the divorce settlement protect your interests.

Source: Associated Press, "Courteney Cox asks court to drop Arquette name," June 14, 2012

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