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High asset divorce: Questions arise over De Niro prenup

When a couple is in love and contemplating the rest of their lives together, many recognize the importance of planning for the future -- even if that future might include a time in which they are no longer involved romantically. For many couples in Illinois and across the country, this includes the creation of a prenuptial agreement. However, this agreement can still be questioned, as demonstrated by actor Robert De Niro's high asset divorce.

Recent court proceedings have shed some light on the dispute between De Niro and his estranged wife, Grace Hightower. A representative for Hightower claims that De Niro is worth approximately $500 million from revenue earned from movies, a restaurant chain he owns and a hotel. The representative further states that Hightower is entitled to a 50 percent division and estimates that De Niro has earned $300 million since a prenuptial agreement was signed in 2004.

De Niro disagrees with Hightower's claim to his worth. He argues that their prenuptial agreement indicates that she is to have $500,000 in cash, $1 million a year, half of the value of the marital residence and a $6 million apartment. De Niro also argues that, under the terms of the prenup, their issues should be dealt with in mediation; comments made by the judge of the case seem to indicate that he might be inclined to agree with De Niro on the latter claim.

Because of the complexities often associated with a high asset divorce, those in Illinois facing one may want an attorney on their side who is willing to fight on their behalf. While a prenuptial agreement can be challenged, having an experienced professional aid in the creation of such a document can potentially help reduce the chances of it being done successfully. Such an individual can also help ensure that the best interests of their clients are looked after as terms are agreed upon.

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