21 April 2024

Divorce and Asset Division: The Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness divorce takeaway

Unified Lawyers


Unified Lawyers, a top-rated family law firm in Australia, has expanded its presence with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Specialising in divorce, child custody, property settlement, and financial agreements, they have been recognised as one of Australia's best family lawyers. Their team, including Accredited Family Law Specialists, is committed to providing high-quality legal advice and representation at affordable rates. Acknowledging the stress of family breakdowns, they offer free consultations for personalised guidance. With over 450 5-Star Google reviews, Unified Lawyers ensures exceptional service. Available 24/7, they are ready to assist in family law matters across Australia.
A prime example of a "grey divorce," a term referring to the trend of older couples divorcing after long marriages.
Australia Family and Matrimonial
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

Key Takeaways:

  • Even amicable divorces involve complexities, especially with significant assets.
  • Expert advice is essential for handling complex asset divisions in high-net-worth divorces.
  • Formal legal agreements are crucial to ensure that all decisions made during the divorce are binding and clear.

When Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness announced their divorce after 27 years together, it wasn't just their fans who felt the shockwaves—the news also sparked curiosity about how their considerable wealth would be divided.

This situation is a prime example of a "grey divorce," a term referring to the trend of older couples divorcing after long marriages.

As a power couple with extensive assets and no prenuptial agreement, their split shines a spotlight on the unique challenges faced by high-net-worth individuals during a divorce.

In this article, our property settlement lawyers delve into what happens when love fades and the reality of dividing a fortune takes centre stage, especially later in life.

Divorce laws that come into play in high-net-worth marriages

In Australia, the approach to divorce is about fairness and equality. But this goes beyond splitting assets down the middle, especially among those with significant wealth. Australian family law emphasises fairness and considers a range of factors including each person's needs, their ability to earn money, and their contributions to the relationship, both financial and non-financial.

For high-net-worth individuals like Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, the process can become particularly intricate. The assets involved are often diverse, including international real estate, business investments, sophisticated financial instruments, and possibly even intellectual property. Each type of asset requires careful evaluation and a tailored approach to ensure an equitable division. Even in amicable separations, the complexity of the asset portfolio can pose unique challenges, requiring expert legal and financial advice to navigate effectively.

Despite the amicable nature of this high-profile divorce, the stakes are high, and the outcome needs to balance the past contributions of the partners with their future needs. This is why many turn to specialised legal teams who understand the nuances of high-value asset divisions and can advocate effectively on their behalf.

Prenuptial agreements: The legal implications of not having one

Prenuptial agreements, often seen as essential in marriages involving significant assets, set clear expectations for what happens in the event of a divorce. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, however, entered their 27-year marriage without such an agreement. This situation is not uncommon and, while potentially complicating the divorce process, does not necessarily lead to conflict, especially when the split is amicable.

In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, couples like Jackman and Furness have the flexibility to negotiate asset division on their own terms, likely with the assistance of legal counsel. This private negotiation can often lead to a settlement that reflects the intricacies of their shared lives better than a court might have, taking into account changes over the duration of the marriage.

It's important to note that even if a prenuptial agreement had been in place, it would likely require regular updates to remain relevant over many years. Without these updates, a prenup might not adequately reflect the current financial realities and contributions of both partners, particularly in a long-lasting marriage where personal and financial growth has occurred. If you do have a prenuptial agreement, consider having it reviewed regularly by prenuptial agreement lawyers.

Asset valuation in the Hugh Jackman - Deborra-Lee Furness divorce

Valuing assets during a divorce is a critical step, particularly in high-net-worth cases like that of Jackman and Furness. With an estimated $290 million in shared wealth, their divorce showcases the complexities of evaluating diverse and substantial assets such as luxury real estate, investment portfolios, and personal valuables like art and jewellery.

In any divorce, not just those involving substantial assets, full financial disclosure is crucial. This ensures that all assets are known and properly valued, which is fundamental for an equitable division. Each party must disclose their financial information completely and honestly, including hidden or obscure assets that might otherwise complicate or delay proceedings.

For Jackman and Furness, experts such as real estate appraisers, financial analysts, and art valuers will be instrumental in accurately assessing the worth of such varied assets. The process underscores the importance of transparency in financial disclosure, as any oversight or dishonesty can lead to disputes or legal challenges, impacting the fairness and efficiency of the divorce settlement.

This comprehensive approach to asset valuation and the insistence on full financial disclosure serve to safeguard the interests of both parties, ensuring that the division of assets is based on clear, accurate, and complete financial information.

Division of assets

The division of assets in a grey divorce, where couples like Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness decide to part ways after a long marriage, involves careful consideration. Such divorces often feature deeply intertwined assets accumulated over decades, making equitable distribution even more complex. Despite their amicable split, both parties are likely represented by skilled family and divorce lawyers who ensure their interests are protected throughout negotiations. This is particularly important in grey divorces, where retirement plans and long-term financial security are at stake.

For Jackman and Furness, deciding who keeps which assets involves not only an understanding of their individual preferences and needs but also a strategic consideration of tax implications and future financial security. They might decide to sell certain assets and split the proceeds, or one might buy out the other's share, especially in cases involving real estate or shared business interests.

Even in amicable situations, unexpected challenges can arise. If disputes occur, alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation can play a crucial role. Mediation allows both parties to discuss their needs and find a mutually agreeable solution under the guidance of a neutral third party, often avoiding the need for court intervention.

These processes are critical for ensuring that the asset division is not only fair but also adheres to legal standards, allowing both parties to move forward on agreeable terms. The use of experienced legal counsel and mediators ensures that all discussions are productive and that any agreements reached are legally sound and enforceable.

Legal advice for high net-worth individuals

As family and divorce lawyers in Australia, our primary piece of advice to anyone facing a divorce, particularly those involving substantial assets, is to seek specialised legal advice immediately. Navigating the complexities of substantial wealth, potential hidden assets, and the necessity for comprehensive financial disclosure requires expert guidance.

Our second crucial piece of advice is to always formalise any agreements legally, even in amicable separations. This formalisation covers asset division, child support, and spousal maintenance, ensuring that all terms are enforceable and clear, thereby preventing any future disputes or misunderstandings.

Having skilled legal representation will not only help in drafting a thorough and fair agreement but also in protecting your financial interests and rights throughout the divorce process.

Family lawyers who can help with similar divorces

Divorce can be a complex and emotional journey, requiring expert legal guidance. Whether your assets are modest or substantial like those of Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, Unified Lawyers offers the professional support you need to navigate your divorce smoothly and fairly.

So, if you're facing a divorce? Don't go it alone. Reach out to Unified Lawyers for expert advice and compassionate representation. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome, ensuring your rights and future are protected. Contact us today to start your journey toward a new beginning with confidence.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More