Articles Posted in Spousal Support

The Valuation Dilemma

The most contentious business issue in many divorce proceedings is the value of the business that must be divided as part of the divorce settlement. Valuation is an inexact science, and the divorcing couple can easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on expert and legal fees battling it out over the value of one or more private companies included in the marital estate. This challenging issue is not subject to any easy fix. But there are some options the couple may want to consider before engaging in an expensive and time-consuming valuation battle.

Marital settlement agreements are common documents used to mitigate problems with divorce litigation.  While a pre-nup is more common, couples can also agree to enter into a post-nup that details a property division and removes any conflict regarding the valuation of specific assets. Texas statutes set forth strict requirements to follow for marital agreements be enforceable.

Many people feel that if they are going to get divorced they need to find a least adversarial way in order to resolve all the issues of the divorces such as Spousal support, Child support, and property division.  And thus recently there has been a push by many divorcees to go the that way.  However, issues have arisen that might be an impediment to an easy mediation, divorce free conflict amongst litigants going through a divorce.  Everyone believes and rightfully so that everything during the mediation process remains confidential and thus all agreements are set in stone. However, such is not the case.

A recent article from The National Law Review cited a recent case where the confidentiality provision of the medation agreement did not get signed.  Therefore the alleged agreement between the parties was not proven to be an agreement in the Court of Law.  As a result all the hard work and time and and effort put into paying a mediator and getting a divorce agreement done out of court was for nought.  This kind of situation can occur more likely than not if your mediator or the parties are not experienced at doing the mediation process.  In the case cited above the alleged agreement between the parties could not be show in the court of law because the parties never signed a waiver of confidentiality clause. Therefore the agreement could not hold weight nor was admissible in the Court of law.

In order for the mediation agreement to be a part of the Divorce proceedings the parties would have needed to sign a waiver of confidentiality which would then let the mediation document become admissible in a court of law.  Normally all mediations are confidential and therefore cannot be brought into the legal setting without a waiver of confidentiality signed by both parties.

Earlier this week, we reported that Daniel “Booby” Gibson, was requesting full custody and spousal support from his estranged wife Keshia Cole. As you can imagine the internet did not approve of the request. Not only because the two seemed to have a healthy co-parenting relationship but also because as a former NBA player, Gibson doesn’t need any of Keshia’s money…or he shouldn’t, anyway. This idea that a spouse that earns more money should not in any way ask the other spouse to pay their share of spousal support is very interesting.  As an ex NBA player he should not be banned from requesting from Keshi Cole that she pay Spousal support.  The law is gender neutral and in order to respect the law The Court must take into all accounts the income and need of both parties as part of the divorce proceedings.

When the news hit the internet, folks felt a way.

 Later, Gibson’s lawyer released a statement saying that making requests for the worst case scenario was common practice in family law.

A couple in Canada who decided to divorce after 35 years of marriage had to go to court to settle one of the more important aspects of their separation: Who gets their Edmonton Oilers season tickets? Often during the divorce there are issues regarding the division of property.  Usually the house is the main issue.  In others people have to divide personal property such as jewelry, cars, dogs and cats and other belongings people acquire over there long term marriage.

Often people have to deal with other financial issues such as spousal support and in long term marriages that can be a huge issue.

Beverly and Donald McLeod separated in 2015, with Donald agreeing to pay Beverly $15,000 per month in spousal support. But they needed a court order to decide what to do with the hockey tickets they had shared for the past 11 years.

Terrence Howard‘s taking an “L” in his longstanding spousal support war with his ex-wife … who just won in appeals court. This divorce case of Terrence Howard has been going on for years.  This shows how a case in the Family law court system can last as it seems forever.  A case such as Howard’s should make a person involved in a divorce reflect is it really worth it to drag a case out for years to achieve exactly what? To lose money? Im sure Terrence lost thousands paying his family law attorneys and his appellate lawyers to drag a case out for spite and contempt of heart.  Noone wins in cases that drag out over years to fight and fight and win absolutely nothing but lose thousands to the Family Court system.

In Terrence Howard’s case he chose to fight a payment of spousal support to his ex wife.  Often the appellate process can take years because of the nature of the appellate process in the Superior Court system. Often the Trial Court family law judges are permitted what is called broad discretion to handle their family law cases such as spousal support. Since the appellate three judge panel is permitted broad discretion to rule on spousal support matters that makes it difficult for an appellate court to overturn cases that the trial judge ruled on.

According to court docs, Michelle Ghent Howard got a ruling on their spousal support overturned. Two years ago, Terrence convinced the court he’d been forced to sign their marital settlement under duress. He claimed she was threatening to go public with naked photos and videos. Interestingly, Terrence claimed the threat of putting nude photos of himself on the web was enough to coerce him into signing a contract.  Often when once thinks of duress they think of someone facing physical or severe emotional harm. Terrence claims duress was fear of nude photos of himself leaked.  Often the defense to a signing of any contract in the State of California would be duress or coercion.  In addition, if a party claims they did not sign a contract without their consent it could be a plausible defense to signing the contract.

Jesse Williams is opening his wallet wide for his estranged wife, to the tune of $160,000. That means that Williams was earning a significant amount more that Aryn his wife.  Spousal support in California is determined by numerous factors according to the family law code.  It takes into account the length of marriage and the incomes of the parties and there capacity to earn a living.

Jesse’s estranged wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, just filed legal docs which disclose a temporary settlement, in which Jesse agrees to give her $100k for spousal and child support and $60k to cover her lawyer’s fees and other costs.  Attorney fees are dealt with on an as need basis.

He has to pay her in 3 installments from his first 3 “Grey’s Anatomy” paychecks.

having herself a big month — first she settled an ongoing lawsuit … and now she’s back on the market.

Joanna’s marriage to Romain Zago is officially over … and it’s hard to imagine a divorce going more smoothly. Neither side sought spousal support, and we’re told they split things up evenly — she keeps the L.A. pad and he gets the house in Miami. Romain also gets visitation rights … for their dogs. It is rare these days it seems that a divorce will go so smoothly.  However, if there are no children to set up visitation with and there is little to no property involved in the marriage then things are simple.  Even a lawsuit that was filed by Joanna that could bring financial reward to Joanna did not seem to stop the settlement of the divorce.

Spousal support would be be a big issue in a divorce where one party earns substantially more than the other spouse.  Romain Zago net worth is an $16 million.  He owns nightclubs including Mynt Lounge club in Miami Florida.  Joanna on the other hand has a net worth of 8 million dollars.  Therefore Romain would under normal circumstances have to pay Joanna spousal support.  It can be waived under California law.  Sometimes to avoid litigation with lawyers the parties agree on a number rather than prolong the fight in Court and settle out of Court and go their separate ways.  This seems to be the case of Joanna and Romain.

A decade after Alicia Stephenson left the 30,000-square-foot home she shared with her multimillionaire husband on a 180-acre northwest suburban estate, a divorce judge soon could decide whether she is entitled to $400,000 a month in living expenses.

Stephenson has argued she needs that much money to live the privileged lifestyle to which she had become accustomed during her marriage to Richard Stephenson, founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Alicia Stephenson, who argues she was an integral part of her husband’s business success, also is seeking millions of dollars from various trusts and entities established during the marriage. And she wants to reclaim a Porsche she received as a wedding present and other luxury items.

Joanna Krupa has filed for divorce from husband Romain Zago is an American businessman and nightclub owner. Romain Zago owns the Mynt Lounge club in Miami Florida. There four year marriage was on the rocks. They filed in Los Angeles county after the marriage broke down.

Joanna filed legal docs claiming the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  All marriages in California usually state that their marriage is irretrievably broken.  It must be stated in the petition in order to actually get a divorce. It’s clearly not going to be contentious … according to court records, the couple hashed out who gets what in a Marital Settlement Agreement dated today, July 10, 2017. In a marital settlement agreement all he issues of the divorce will be put into an agreement that then will be filed with the court.  The agreement will fully encompass every issue of the divorce proceeding.

Both Joanna and Romain have agreed not to seek spousal support against the other. Since it is a short term marriage spousal support will not be a big issue.  Usually anyone who might pay will pay one half of the length of marriage. Its unclear who is the spouse who earns more money. Krupa is worth 8 million dollars. And Zago has a net worth of 16 million dollars.  Therefore, zago might be on the hook to pay support for 2 years.  Since Krupa is a working model she probably doesnt need the money however, that is not the criteria for determining spousal support.

A judge had ordered Mel B. to pay her estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, $40,000 a month in temporary spousal support the Court finally ordered after this bitter and public spousal support dispute ran through the media.  Since this is quite a bit of money that means that Mel B. is earning quite a bit of money with all her projects. California Court system is geared to be gender neutral so it might seem that a man earning that much money from a women is ridiculous but it can be quite common in the family law court system where the Judges only look at your bank accounts not your gender.  In addition, the Court must have looked at the standard of living the couple enjoyed during their time together.  California Court must use this legal concept when deciding the amount of spousal support to be paid to the other spouse.  The former Spice Girls singer also has to pay her ex a one-time payment of $140,000 for attorney and forensic fees. The forensic costs are for any accountant who has to go through all the financial documents and history of both parties. It seems that Mel B might have a significant amount of income so that an accountant was necessary to evaluate her true income from all her business ventures.

Belafonte filed a request for emergency spousal support, claiming he needed help paying for food, housing and his phone bill. Interestingly in family law court there really is no emergency for economic rewards with the family law C0urt.  So its unclear how a judge awarded emergency spousal support if in fact they did just that.  Emergency ex parte orders are for child custody cases or cases where a persons safety is in jeopardy and money never is an emergency issue for the family lawy court.