News of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’s amicable divorce took the internet by storm when they made the announcement early in 2019. Media outlets picked up on the story of the Amazon CEO's impending divorce with even President Trump weighing in. The reason was the $137.1 billion estate that the couple would split in half under the community property rule in Washington State. New York follows a fair and equitable distribution of assets, which may better reflect the contribution each party made to the financial well being of the marriage. As it stands, MacKenzie’s share adds up to an estimated $66 billion.
Restraining orders have an ominous sound to them because of the association with assault and physical or psychological abuse. However, New York State and others utilize s (ATROS) when a couple files for divorce. The general premise is to have the couple put their financials in a holding pattern while the details of the divorce are addressed.
Upon the dissolution of marriage, marital assets are divided in a fair and equitable manner. Like it or not, a business qualifies as a marital asset unless it fits into one of the following categories:
A University of Minnesota professor made national news in September when he was convicted of providing his wife with several forged papers as part of their divorce. These documents reduced the stated size of their retirement account from the actual amount of $891,116 to $745,012. He omitted the fact that there was a second retirement account. All told, the wife would have lost about $353,649 if she had not notified the police that he was providing false numbers.
It seems that engagement rings used to be more modest in size. Recent years, however, have seen a major shift where the ring is one part of a destination wedding on an isolated beach in the Caribbean or a big-ticket hometown wedding.
Part of the process of filing for divorce is creating a list of marital and individual assets. Ideally, the spouses and their lawyers can look at the list and draft a fair and equitable arrangement. While it may be tempting for one side to try to withhold “their money” because “they earned it,” it is a mistake that cause a serious problems for those who are caught.
Family law attorneys are a crucial part of any negotiation involving divorce, custody and other common areas addressed during a couple’s split. However, clients must also consider their own priorities during this process. While a judge has to make the final decision during litigation, the two sides should each determine what those priorities are and work towards achieving them.
The changes to the tax code will eliminate a break for those who pay alimony. The old system allowed those who paid alimony (also called spousal maintenance) to deduct that amount from their income taxes. The change goes into effect in 2019, but any agreement signed before the end of the year will be honored.
Anyone who has gone through divorce knows that it is never as easy or straightforward as it could be. Moreover, divorce involves many financial challenges for couples who have large and complicated estates. An extreme example of this is when an appellate court judge ordered hedge fund manager Remy Trafelet to pay $600,000 in 2017 and $3.5 million more in 2018 to his wife Lara as an interim fee while the divorce is litigated.
The circumstances for a divorce generally involve feelings of anger, sadness and frustration. These are valid feelings, but it is also important to remember that there are a number of strategies that can enable people to look out for their financial welfare.