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Up to $400 million at stake in Schwarzenegger-Shriver split

As the dust settles around the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver separation, complete with allegations of infidelity and extramarital children, many are speculating about the couple's next move. It was recently reported that both spouses have both hired divorce attorneys, so it appears that a permanent split is imminent. It is no secret that Schwarzenegger and Shriver both have significant wealth, together and apart, so dividing up their finances and assets could end up being a long process.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver were first announced their separation early last month, stating that the split was due to "great personal and professional transition" for both spouses. However, it was later revealed that Schwarzenegger had been unfaithful to his wife, and had even fathered the child of a longtime member of the couple's household staff. From that point, it became fairly clear that the couple would not ultimately reconcile, as had been speculated.

Schwarzenegger is a native of Austria who was elected as the governor of California following successful body-building and acting careers. Shriver is a member of the Kennedy family who previously worked as an NBC news correspondent. The couple was married in 1986, and had four children, ages 21, 19, 17 and 13.

Current estimates place the Schwarzenegger-Shriver joint marital wealth somewhere between $200 million and $400 million. Because California, like Nevada, is a community property state, any money that was earned during the marriage is considered joint property of both spouses and split equally. There are exceptions: any money or assets that a party brought into the marriage or any gifts or inheritances to one party will not be considered community property if those assets have remained in that party's name alone.

In addition, if the parties had a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that dictates their property settlement, all of the speculation may be moot. The ultimate resolution of this marriage remains to be seen.

Source: CBS Money Watch, "Maria Shriver & Arnold Schwarzenegger Divorce: $400 Million at Stake," Jill Schlesinger, 18 May 2011

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