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Robert De Niro divorce shows property division is complicated

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Divorce |

Divorce can be hard for anyone, but divorce can be especially hard for high asset divorces. That is definitely the case for celebrity, Robert De Niro, in his divorce with his estranged-wife, Grace Hightower. However, a recent court decision by the Manhattan Supreme Court, found that Mr. De Niro does not owe any of his estimated $500 million estate to his wife of nearly 25 years, Ms. Hightower.

The most recent court ruling

After the couple’s 2004 prenuptial agreement was upheld in February, Ms. Hightower still sought a piece of Mr. De Niro’s fortune. The Manhattan Supreme Court Judge, Matthew Cooper, found that because of the prenuptial agreement, Ms. Hightower was not entitled to any of his estate.

Not a complete loss though

Nonetheless, the prenuptial agreement did allow for other monetary transfers. Specifically, Judge Cooper ordered Mr. De Niro to pay Ms. Hightower $6 million for a new home, and he will have to pay her $1 million in alimony. This obligation will be until either passes or she gets remarried.

How the prenuptial agreement affected the case

The prenuptial agreement stated: “The husband’s income earned during the marriage and other business assets acquired during that time are his separate property.” As such, since the agreement was upheld, the judge was bound by its terms, which mandated that Ms. Hightower was not privy to Mr. De Niro’s assets or income from his film productions and business portfolio that includes high-successful restaurants and hotels.

The marriage

This seems to be the last part of their property division, so the divorce will likely be settled soon. This has been an ongoing legal drama since 2018 after 24 years of marriage and two children.

It is likely that our Houston, Texas, readers are wondering why this matters to them. And, on its face, the case itself does not, but we can learn from it. First, and most importantly, a prenuptial agreement can be key in a divorce. And, second, divorce is complicated.