The latest CNBC show divorce wars that aired last week can provide us all with many valuable lessons about the rules of divorce that now apply to the 1 million marriages that are dissolved in the US this year.
Here are the Top 6 lessons to bear in mind when contemplating divorce:
Lesson 1: It is a Legally Binding Business Agreement
A marriage may be based on love but it is also a contractual, legally binging business arrangement. This means that all assets and liabilities that are part of that business arrangement must be dealt with upon divorce.
Lesson 2: Cheating is irrelevant
The introduction of no fault divorce in New York and all other states means that cheating is no longer a consideration and one party is no more at fault if they did. Bringing the issue up could even be detrimental to your case as it is wasting the Court’s time and are for the most part irrelevant when it comes to division of marital assets.
Lesson 3: You can always afford to get divorced
If you find yourself cash strapped or one spouse is controlling all of the money, they are companies that will provide the finding for your case and even pay for investigators, lawyer fees and your monthly expenses for a cut of the winnings.
Lesson 4: It is never really over – Money Never Sleeps
There was a woman on the Divorce Wars show, Margaret Spenlinhauer who suspected that her spouse was under-representing his true wealth. However, at the time she could not prove it and was awarded an amount of $750,000.
Determined to not let him get away with it, Spenlinhauer spent the next 15 years investigating and tracking down the hidden assets and actually found them. Her new settlement amount was a massive $15 Million.
More recently, take a look at the recent example of Michael Douglas and his ex wife Diandra – who is continuing efforts to get half the Academy Award-winning actor’s take from the 2010 Wall Street movie.
The couple’s lengthy, multimillion-dollar divorce deal gives Diandra Douglas a share of proceeds from projects related to work the actor did when they were married.
The divorce agreement between Douglas and Luker already earned the latter $6.3 million. However, she insists that she is entitled to the cash from the new Wall Street movie as it revived Gordon Gekko’s character which Douglas also played in the original Wall Street movie while they were married.
Lesson 5: You cannot hide your assets
There are numerous investigators and forensic accountants that are highly skilled at auditing financial records and tracking down assets. It really is extremely difficult to keep anything hidden. These professionals are trained to scrutinize all financial records and are sharp at noticing discrepancies and inconsistent disclosure.
Any money that cannot be accounted for will be deducted from your side, so it is a lose-lose situation. Add to that the high hourly rate that the forensic accountant chanrge and the lesson is that it is just not worth it.
It is much easier to fool and hide it from the government than a scorned spouse!
Lesson 6: Make sure you get a Prenuptial Agreement
Talking about prenuptial agreements has always been one of those taboo topics, but it is the best protection for couples who are getting married to ensure security surrounding issues like property and asset distribution, an itemization of assets to be considered as community or separate property as well as the responsibility of any debts incurred prior to the marriage.
It is best to seek the advice of a qualified and experienced New York Divorce Attorney regarding prenuptial agreements. Their experience and advice is highly valuable and will ensure that everything essential is covered.
With one out of every three marriages ending in divorce it is wise and practical to prepare for your long term future, in spite of how in love you are at the time of marriage.