Their carefully worded statement said they decided to “part ways,” friends say they “separated.” The D word hasn’t even been mentioned.
Maybe that’s because Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were never even legally married?
Even though they held a ceremony for friends and family at their Bel-Air mansion in 2015, and called it a wedding, TMZ reports that there is no license among the marriage records in L.A. County dating all the way back to 2010.
The two have also made no attempt to reach out to divorce lawyers, and reports say there has been "talk for a long time they might not be legally married."
So what exactly are their rights? It would be odd for Jen to want — or ask — for any money from Justin since she is a multi-millionaire many times over. He’s wealthy in his own right, but nowhere near Jen’s net worth.
Top divorce lawyer Peter Walzer, founding partner of Walzer Melcher family law firm in Los Angeles says that if Justin really wanted to, he could still go after half of what Jen made while they were “married.” He’d just have to prove he didn’t know they didn’t actually have a license, and he can’t get his hands on any money they made before the ceremony — including Friends residuals.
“The question is if you don’t have a legal marriage do you have a 'putative marriage?' Which means, did you reasonably believe you were legally married — you thought the paperwork was in or you thought that was all you needed, or it was never made clear you were not legally married,” Walzer says. “A judge will determine that based on have you been married before? Have you filed this paperwork before? Are you educated?”
Justin has an advantage being that he’d never been through the process before since this was his first marriage, whether it was real or not.
“If you’re married 20 years and someone tells you you didn’t sign a document, you get your legal rights, because you reasonably believed you were married. If you don’t have a license you’d have to prove you thought you were married. There’s a lot of money at stake here,” he says, adding, “It’s possible we’ll see litigation.”
For the two-plus years they were married, Jen may have made a lot of money, but whatever Justin would potentially be entitled to would be only the work she completed while they were married.
“She’d had to have earned it during the marriage. Let’s say Jen got an advance on a film, that would be common property and Justin can claim that. He cannot claim residuals. She’d be crazy not to have a prenup, but maybe she knew she wasn’t legally married,” Walzer says. “You would think at their level they’d know if they were married or not. Maybe they didn’t and just married in a ceremony but not legally because of past problems.”
Justin can also claim they were together for seven years and that the two had an agreement that they’d share assets. “He could file a palimony action based on an implied contract,” says Walzer.
But the most likely scenario? Despite how friendly you think they are, Jen will likely cut a check to Justin to make the whole thing go away.
“Most all make a deal under the table even though they don’t seem the type,” Walzer says. “Everybody makes a deal.”
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