Recent news of a Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez split prompted intense speculation after The New York Post's Page Six reported that the engaged power couple is no longer an item.
Shortly after the bombshell report, the duo released a joint (yet vague) statement saying that they "are working through some things." Still, questions are swirling around the couple's massive wealth and business ventures, and how they'd be divided even though the A-listers aren't formally wed.
Lopez and Rodriguez invested in multiple projects together over the course of their 4-year union, including the healthcare company Hims and Hers (HIMS) which recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange and made the couple a reported $79 million.
In addition, the couple invested $11 million into the brand Super Coffee, and own two homes together in both New York City and Miami. The Florida property, located in the gated Star Island community, is worth around $33 million, according to multiple reports.
"Even though the parties are not legally married, it's still nonetheless a divorce — a business divorce," explained Leslie Barbara, chair of the divorce and family law group at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron.
"The rules are slightly different but a divorce of its own kind," she told Yahoo Finance.
'Shareholder agreement' of a different kind
So how would a "business divorce" impact the star's lucrative finances? According to New York City-based divorce lawyer and author Dror Bikel, the couple would still be able to keep their investments in both Hims and Hers and Super Coffee — even if they ultimately chose to separate.
"The fact that they’re a couple or not does not matter," Bikel said.
However, if they do decide to divest and untangle their assets altogether, they would be "subject to the same shareholder agreement that everyone else has," which typically includes the initial investment plus any appreciation.
Their real estate would be handled slightly different, although the likelihood is that they entered into an operating agreement at the time of the sale. For context, an operating agreement is a contract that outlines each party's ownership, rights and responsibilities.
"It's very common and both of these individuals are savvy financially, so that's most likely the case," Bikel explained.
And since they're not married, dividing up their assets "is very easy — they have contracts and operating agreements that will speak to all of this. There are no issues with children or equitable distribution, no issues of child or spousal support and, in terms of investments, nothing will be too impacted," he surmised.
Davidoff Hutcher's Barbara echoed those thoughts, saying that "the most basic thing for any divorce is identifying, evaluating and dividing assets," she said.
"The big question here is do all of these shared entities survive?" Barbara asked, adding that the couple has options should they choose to split such as dissolving some or all of their assets or even buying the other party out.
'Their names are worth a lot of money'
Both Lopez and Rodriguez are worth millions of dollars on their own, with Lopez's net worth last estimated at $400 million, whereas Rodriguez sits at about $350 million.
"There are high stake numbers here — what they're worth, the sheer monetary investments at play. They will need very sophisticated lawyers to navigate them through this," Barbara said.
According to Bikel, "Their names are worth a lot of money so generally when you are dealing with a brand this big you don’t want to soil it. You don’t want information out there that they mistreated each other or that someone cheated because if they’re trying to sell a product, it makes it less appealing. If there is infidelity or mistreatment, it would be in their best interest not to surface that because ultimately it will take away from both of their individual brands."
Celebrity splits, especially those with rumored infidelity, usually turn acrimonious. The attorney suggested a messy separation wouldn't be in either party's interest.
"Hopefully they will stay together and, if they don’t, it's best that the separation is clean with not a lot of hostility," Bikel concluded.