RHOC Noella Bergener Owes Her Attorneys Lots of Money

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Rule #1 of divorce and child custody cases: It’s expensive to fight over these things in court.

Noella Bergener, one of the cast members of Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOC), has found out the hard way. But she made it even worse on herself by assuming that her ex was paying her legal fees, and then ignoring her attorneys’ requests to get paid.

Bergener now owes over $400k for a paternity suit over her daughter that was filed in 2014. The case dragged on for 4 years before being settled. She owed her law firm Fried and Goldsman $293k. They tried over and over to collect, but apparently she ignored them because she thought her husband James Bergener was going to pay the bill as part of their divorce settlement.

Interest of $116k and other fees of $5k were added to what she owed to bring the total over $400k. And she apparently blew off the lawsuit for the fees, which resulted in the default judgment.

Don’t be like Noella. Don’t ignore your attorney when he or she is requesting that you pay your bill. And don’t assume someone else is paying your bill and fail to show up for your court hearing about it.

Kelly Clarkson Divorce Settled

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More celebrity divorce news. The nearly two-year divorce fight between Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock has been settled. Kelly will have primary custody of their children, and Brandon will have them one weekend a month.

Kelly will keep Warren Peak Ranch in Montana (worth about $17.75 million). Brandon can stay there until June 1, but has to pay $12,500 rent per month. She also keeps the property on Cattle Drive, and he has to pay her $52,000 rent per month on that until he is gone in June. She keeps pets, cars (Ford Bronco, Ford F-250), Porsche Cayenne), and a flight simulator.

Brandon gets the farm cattle, livestock, stock dogs, and horses. He also gets vehicles including a Ford F-350, a Ford F-250, an ATV, and several CAT snowmobiles. He gets a golf simulator and some Patek Philippe watches. Continue reading

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Prenuptial Agreement

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There’s nothing like a little celebrity gossip to start the week off right. The terms of the prenuptial agreement between Kim Kardashian and kanye West were recently made public. And some of the numbers may surprise you.

When doing a prenup, it is generally required that both parties disclose their assets, liabilities, and income to one another. (State laws vary a bit, but this is generally the rule.)

The agreement was signed in 2014 when Kim and Kanye had been living together for a year and had one child. They reported their incomes form 2011 and 2012 at $9.1 million and $8.4 million for Kim, and $1.9 million and $4.6 million for Kanye. Continue reading

My Unorthodox Life Lawsuit

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Julia Haart, the star of the Netflix series My Unorthodox Life, her divorce  from Silvio Scaglia, and the argument over their company Elite World Group. It all started when Haart was fired from her position of CEO of Elite World Group on February 9. A few hours later, she filed for divorce from Scaglia.

Scaglia then filed a lawsuit against Haart, alleging that she used Elite’s funds as her own personal piggy bank, paying for luxury travel, clothing, cars, private air travel, and more with the company’s money. Court filings now give more details.

An internal investigation at Elite was initiated by new CEO Paolo Barbieri. Among many other things, Haart allegedly charged her breast augmentation procedure to Elite. Her defense is that she didn’t take a salary from the company, and instead had her expenses paid for by Elite. She says that Scaglia is the one who designed her compensation structure, and that he saw and approved all of her expenses. Continue reading

Unorthodox Divorce Shenanigans

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The same day Julia Haart, star of Netflix reality series “My Unorthodox Life,” was accused of illegally withdrawing $850,000 from an account at Elite World Group, she filed for divorce from her husband Silvio Scaglia.

Haart was the CEO of Elite World Group, a company that is run by Scaglia. It’s safe to say that the divorce and the corporate fighting was in the works for a while, and it all came to a head that day. While Haart was CEO of Elite, it is alleged that used the company as her own personal piggy bank. According to Page Six:

An Elite insider who knows Haart said, “Julia was spending on extras like travel, glam, clothes, driver. She has a full-time driver and two Bentleys. She has a Hamptons rental, she flies private, she stays at the penthouse at luxury hotels … She has custom Chanel and Gucci. She’s one of the top spenders globally at Louis Vuitton.”

Apparently, Haart was told that the board of directors was going to meet on February 11 to discuss firing her as CEO. She then withdrew $850,000 from the company’s bank account and transferred it to Haart Dynasty LLC (a company she owns). The suit against Haart alleges that she only had the authority to withdraw up to $250,000. Continue reading

Kelly Clarkson Child Support and Alimony

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A couple of weeks ago, singer Kelly Clarkson was ordered to pay her soon-to-be ex-husband Brandon Blackstock $150,000 per month of spousal support (alimony) and $45,601 in child support. Some people are criticizing this award and referring to it as “manimony.”

This order of the court is temporary, but will total over $2.3 million per year if it continues for the long term. Clarkson and Blackstock have two children together, ages 5 and 7.  Blackstock initially requested $436,000 per month of support, so the temporary award is less than half that amount.

Why has Kelly been ordered to pay so much?

The biggest reason is probably Clarkson’s income. Court documents show that she makes $1.9 million per month. Blackstock doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of money. The courts look at the relative income of the parties, and want to make sure that the non-monied spouse is able to continue to live a lifestyle equivalent to that of the marriage. (That’s why a lifestyle analysis is often done in high net worth cases.) We look at the “marital standard of living” and do calculations to determine how much the spouses need after the divorce to continue this standard of living. Continue reading

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Divorce: No Spousal Support

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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth were married in December 2018, and filed for divorce less than a year later. They had dated on and off for ten years before getting married, and the reasons for their split are in dispute.

It was widely reported a couple of days ago that the divorce was final, but actually the divorce doesn’t become final until six months after the filing date. That means Miley and Liam will be officially divorced in February.

Miley and Liam worked out a divorce settlement in December, and it involves neither of them receiving spousal support from the other. Why is no one receiving alimony? Two reasons may be in play here. First, it has been reported that there was prenuptial agreement, and it likely says that no one receives spousal support.

Second, even if there was not a prenup dictating these terms, it is likely that neither would receive spousal support because they each make plenty of money independently. In other words, neither Liam nor Miley needs money from the other person to maintain their lifestyle. Continue reading

Dennis Quaid Child Support: Reasonable Needs

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When child support or spousal support is calculated for a “normal” person, we often use a percentage of income. It’s simple. It’s often fair. And it’s a way to standardize things.

When someone makes a ton of money, calculating support based on a percentage of income isn’t necessarily so fair. If someone is making $75,000 per year and the ex-spouse is not employed, paying 25% of the income ($18,750 per year) in child support might seem reasonable. (There are lots of factors involved… I’m using the simplest possible scenario here.

But if someone makes $5,000,000 per year and has an ex-spouse who is not working, is the same 25% ($1,250,000 per year) fair. Many times the answer is no.

In the case of actor Dennis Quaid, the divorce agreement with his ex-wife Kimberly specified $13,750 per month of child support ($165,000 per year). However, if he made more than $1.3 million in a given year, the amount was to be increased. In a recent court filing reported on by TMZ, Quaid admitted to earning approximately $550,000 per month in 2019 (or $6.6 million for the year). Continue reading

Terrence Howard and the Case of the Missing Spousal Support

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Empire star Terrence Howard illustrates why it’s so important to pay up when the court orders you to pay spousal support. His divorce from Michelle Ghent has been interesting for years. Back in 2012, Howard signed a spousal support agreement, but later he said that he only signed it because Ghent was blackmailing him. A judge believed him and threw out the agreement.

Ghent appealed, and last year she won that appeal. The agreement was reinstated, so spousal support was back on.

And apparently Terrence Howard is awfully far behind in his payments to Ghent. Their agreement called for support of $5,800 per month plus additional amounts (up to $4 million per year!) depending on his earnings. Ghent is going to court to ask for $909,418 in back support. She says he hasn’t paid what he owes since she won the appeal, and that he’s hiding his income from the Empire series. She says he’s made $9.7 million from the show over the last 5 years. Continue reading