Leslie L. Abrigo, APC
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Hollywood icon Robert De Niro in a high-net worth divorce

Some California couples can relate to being married, getting divorced, then reuniting with their former spouses, only to wind up in divorce court again some years later. That's basically what happened between superstar actor Robert De Niro and his estranged wife (for the second time) Grace Hightower. The two are currently battling over marital assets in a high-net worth divorce, including custody issues regarding their youngest child.

De Niro filed for divorce in December. His net worth is currently estimated to be half a billion dollars. He and Hightower signed a prenuptial agreement before they were married the second time. An attorney representing Hightower says De Niro's refusal to see his wife as an equal partner was a major factor in their first divorce and the prenup was signed so that things could be different moving forward.

The problem seems to be that De Niro and Hightower are now interpreting their prenuptial agreement differently. The judge overseeing the litigation notes that there's a provision in the agreement requiring mediation if they choose to divorce again. The judge indicated that he hopes mediation will help them achieve a compromise rather than a winner-take-all type of settlement. Hightower apparently agreed to receive half the value of the couple's home, $500,000 in cash and $1 million per year in case of divorce; however, she says De Niro was not forthright when disclosing assets and she did not realize there was so much more at stake.

Hightower says she believes she is entitled to half of all marital assets. She and De Niro are also fighting for custody of their 7-year-old daughter who was born through surrogacy. High-net worth divorce cases like this can be challenging to resolve, which is why most California spouses turn to experienced family law attorneys for guidance and support before heading to court.

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