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When private matters become public in divorce

No one wants to have intimate details of their lives dragged out and put on display for examination by strangers, neighbors, co-workers and family. But that is what can happen in a divorce; especially a contentious split.

Sometimes public airings of private disputes and acrimony provide lessons from which the rest of can benefit, however. That might be the case in the divorce of a famous pirate. He's also a gangster, cowboy, eccentric director, chocolate maker and Mad Hatter. If you haven't guessed, we're referring to actor Johnny Depp.

Because the actor is going through a highly publicized divorce from actress Amber Heard, the sale of his art collection causes some people to wonder if the auction is to prepare him financially for a devastating divorce. However, the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch points out that because Depp lives in a community property state, only the assets gained during his 15-month marriage are likely to be divided in divorce, making it unlikely that the sale was triggered by the divorce.

Texas is a community property state as well, though Depp's divorce is taking place in California.

If you go through a divorce, you might well have to open your finances to the court, which wants to know your income and your spouse's income, as well as the assets and debts you have two have when it is asked to determine the financial terms of a marital split. Many couples prefer to work out a financial settlement between them, rather than having a judge imposing one on them.

That process is typically carried out in confidential negotiations between their family law attorneys. In that way, both parties retain control over the terms of the settlement, rather than risking having a court dictate terms one or the other (or possibly both) would find objectionable. Sometimes mediation is a way for couples to come to a mutually satisfactory financial settlement as well.

A discussion with a Dallas divorce lawyer can help make clear the options that suit your circumstances best.

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