Blogging a Southern California Divorce

Blogging about other people’s Southern California divorces is one thing, but your own? While it is still being adjudicated? Say what you will, author Justine Musk is taking an unusual approach to negotiating her Los Angeles County divorce settlement. The real negotiating is, of course, taking place behind closed doors involving Southern California divorce lawyers. Musk, however, has used her blog to lay down a marker about what she wants and to defend it in public. The case of Musk and her husband, billionaire investor Elon Musk, is especially interesting because, as Reuters reports, Justine’s demand for a stake in Elon’s latest venture – the Tesla electric car company – may complicate plans for the company to go public.

According to LA Observed the couple have been married eight years and have five children. Elon Musk is a co-founder of PayPal. Justine Musk is a successful novelist, specializing in supernatural thrillers. LA Observed, quoting her blog, says she is demanding a 10 percent stake in Tesla, as well as five percent of another Musk venture, Space X. She also wants $6 million in cash, the couple’s house, child support and alimony… and a Tesla Motors Roadster (retail price: $109,000).

Reuters reports that Justine Musk’s demand for a stake in Tesla Motors as part of her California divorce settlement “could complicate plans… to take the company public and retain $465 million in U.S. government funding to launch a mass-market electric car named Model S.” The news agency reports that lawyers for both spouses did not return calls seeking comment.

The case highlights an aspect of Orange County and other Southern California divorce proceedings that is not often publicized: the post-marital agreement (which is less well-known, at least to the public, than are prenuptial agreements). Justine contends that the agreement she signed shortly after the couple wed is “extremely harsh” and has asked the California divorce court to throw it out. An initial ruling favored Justine, but that is being appealed. If the lower court ruling stands she would be entitled to half of Elon’s assets under California’s community property laws.

Your marital affairs do not have to involve stakes of this sort to be complex and emotionally draining. Consulting with an Orange County divorce attorney is an essential early step in the often complex task of untangling a couple’s affairs and making sure you get the settlement you deserve.

Reuters: Tesla stake on the table in CEO’s divorce dispute

LA Observed: Author blogs her divorce from billionaire