Celebrity Split-Ups Teach Us Legal Lessons About Divorce
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There’s never a shortage of notable divorces, and outlets like
TMZ are never dry on the topic. Top-tier actors, athletes, business titans
and their spouses are fodder for a public suffering their own breakup
or divorce issues. Even during their lowest moments, these folks serve
as entertainers – as a way for the rest of us to escape our own lives.
But we also can learn something from our heroes, says attorney Hillel Presser,
of the Presser Law Firm, P.A., whose firm specializes in comprehensive
“Whether you rejoice in seeing how the mighty have fallen or you
truly empathize with their pain, celebrity divorces remind us of at least
one thing: it can happen to us,” says Presser, author of “Financial Self Defense”.
“Divorce can happen to anyone. While you may not suffer the same
kind of public humiliation as a public figure, it’s still very painful –
and, it can cost you your life’s work in assets.”
Presser details how to cover the basics in case the unthinkable happens to you.
- Insist on a pre-marriage agreement. This is a written contract between
intended spouses. It specifies how their property and income will be divided
in divorce. Pre-marriage agreements – or premarital, prenuptial
or ante-nuptial agreements – aren’t only for the wealthy.
Every couple could use one. It’s their most efficient, equitable
way to settle matters in advance of a future divorce. Pre-marriage agreements
resolve many issues less easily reconciled by divorce courts.
- Write a post-nuptial agreement even if you’re married. Most states
allow for these post-nuptial agreements. Married spouses may want to contractually
agree on how they’ll divide their assets should they later divorce.
As with pre-marriage agreements, the enforceability of the post-nuptial
agreement requires the agreement to be fair; that both spouses fully understand
the agreement; that neither party defrauded the other; and that each party
had independent legal counsel.
- Don’t cohabit without a cohabitation agreement. Many couples now
live together without marriage. Some want to test their relationship before
they marry. Seniors live together because marriage would disqualify Social
Security or pension benefits. Others want to avoid the financial responsibility
of marriage, or they don’t want to commit to the care of an ill
partner. More than a few want to avoid the legal and financial complications
from marriage – particularly when one party has substantially more wealth.
- Divorce-proof your assets with an international trust. A spouse can put
his or her assets beyond the reach of the divorce court with an international
asset protection trust. Those anticipating a divorce can shelter their
assets in off-shore asset protection trusts. They must disclose the trust
assets to the divorce court, but the court cannot recover or divide these
assets. However, such maneuvers do not ensure victory. Divorce courts
can award the victimized spouse more U.S.-based assets to compensate for
the trust-shielded assets. Or, compensation may be awarded via alimony
or support. But such asset protection is useful for those with few remaining
assets in the U.S. and one’s income is too small for the court to
score through an excessive alimony award.
About Hillel L. Presser, Esq., MBA
Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents
individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection
plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management
and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and formerly served
on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He is a former adjunct
faculty member for law at Lynn University. Complimentary copies of his
book “Financial Self-Defense” are available through
Asset Protection Attorneys.
YES, YOU CAN LOSE EVERYTHING!
You may think that your wealth is safe and that you don't need protection.
But don't delude yourself and accept reality — for every 60
minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to