A family law attorney is weighing in on Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman‘s split.
Amid the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding her husband, the Marchesa designer announced Tuesday that she’s leaving Weinstein after almost 10 years of marriage. On Wednesday, Weinstein addressed his separation with Chapman in a statement.
“Over the last week, there has been a lot of pain for my family that I take responsibility for. I sat down with my wife Georgina, who I love more than anything, and we discussed what was best for our family,” the statement began.
Weinstein continued, “We discussed the possibility of a separation and I encouraged her to do what was in her heart. In the end, she made the decision to separate. I understand, I love her and I love our children and hopefully, when I am better, I will be in their lives again. I support her decision, I am in counseling and perhaps, when I am better, we can rebuild.”
A source tells E! News that the couple, who tied the knot on Dec. 15, 2007 in Connecticut, had a prenuptial agreement. Chapman and Weinstein have two children together, Weinstein also has three children from his previous marriage to Eve Chilton. But now that Weinstein and Champman are splitting, Certified Family Law Specialist Steve Mindel is telling E! News what’s at stake.
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E! News: Prediction on how assets will be divided up:
SM: Obviously she’s a pretty successful woman in her own right and he is extremely successful so you would think they both have business managers and handlers. You would anticipate that the asset division will be managed by the business managers or asset managers. You would anticipate that being married previously and its a relatively short marriage, there would have been a premarital agreement at the time they married. The primary reason being that he’s creating a lot of intellectual property and he would want to have control over that. The biggest nightmare for him would be to get a divorce and he doesn’t have control over his intellectual property, meaning she can come to all the business meetings when something is sold. The probability that there is some kind of contractual agreement between him and his wife is 98 percent — either a pre-marital agreement or a post-marital agreement.
E! News: Could she benefit from the nature of the inappropriate/criminal sexual allegations against him?
SM: No. They could have a New York prenup or a California prenup, those are the two most likely places. California being a no fault state, we don’t usually have what we call “Bad Boy” or “Bad Girl” clauses. But notwithstanding that, there are states that have fault and in those states fault would be important. [New York is not a fault state either].
E! News: Could the allegations hurt his chances at custody?
SM: Well, that’s a good question. Judges have to be pretty pragmatic when it comes to children and visitation. The question is going to be what information is going to come out regarding his behavior in front of his children. If his behavior in front of his children is that of dad, then the judge is going to take that into consideration. Any professional who’s performing an evaluation would also have to take that into consideration. Ultimately the judge has to make a decision on what has to happen with the parenting plan. In a case like this, where you have a lot of news media surrounding this and its really harmful to the children, courts will take a look at the overall situation and try to assess it to see how to minimize the impact on the children. That’s ultimately what the judge tries to do.
E! News: What upside or power does Georgina have?
SM: This is like a three dimensional chess game now. You have the typical family law issues like support and division of assets, which will be dictated by the pre-marital agreement. Second layer is the children. Third layer is all the lawsuits that are going to come down against Harvey as a result of this. The power that she’s going to have in this situation is making sure she’s adequately defended and that her assets are adequately defended from the allegations against him.
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E! News: Does where they married dictate where they can file?
SM: No. Many people fly to Las Vegas from all over the world to get married. Ultimately, when they divorce, they don’t have to return to Las Vegas. The place where you got married generally has very little to do with where the divorce gets filed. So for people like the Weinsteins, who probably have multiple houses in multiple jurisdictions, the question is going to be what jurisdiction do they choose? One thing Harvey’s lawyers have to do and Georgina’s lawyers have to do is figure out what jurisdiction is going to be the most beneficial to them. When Sandra Bullock and Jesse James split, you didn’t see Sandra Bullock in the court in California to file. You saw her run to Texas to file. Why did she file in Texas? Texas is a fault state. Since Jesse James was cheating, the Texas courts were going to be way more favorable to her. She had a house in Texas and was able to file in Texas. The other thing is different levels of privacy. California allows for open courtrooms. All of the courtrooms and all of the pleadings are open. The press can see anything they want to see – all the intimate details about their relationship and their finances. Other states have more restricted privacy rights.
E! News: Do you think this will be settled out of court?
SM: That right now is going to be the multi-million dollar question for the lawyers. You would anticipate at least the vast majority of the financial side of this to be handled behind closed doors with the business managers. But on the other hand, the issue of the children and those types of things those might end up in a public court, although you might think that Georgina would want to shield her children form that. It just depends. It’s so early right now. We don’t know what Georgina saw. She might have a seen a side of him that you and I never saw, that we’re just getting a glimpse of. We don’t know what was going on in the house.
On Sunday, Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company, three days after the New York Times published a story about his years and years of alleged misconduct. In response to the article, one of Weinstein’s attorneys Charles J. Harder told E! News last week that the article was “saturated with false and defamatory statements.”
When it comes to the couple’s finances, Celebrity Net Worth lists Weinstein’s current net worth as $300 million while The Richest lists Chapman’s net worth at $20 million. Though Weinstein has been terminated from The Weinstein Company, the company is estimated to be worth about $150 million.