In some cases, prenuptial agreements can bring up questions when a marriage ends in California or other states where high-asset divorces are common. For example, one man developed a very successful business and lived off the proceeds during his marriage while his wife ended her career to stay home with their four children. The couple went through a divorce, and he was ordered to pay $1,000 monthly in child support and $3,500 monthly in spousal support. However, he did not comply with the court’s directives although he allegedly lived in a home worth $600,000 and drove a luxury vehicle.
The ex-husband claimed he had been given gifts by his business partner and the parents of his former wife. He insisted that he had been fired from his own company, but the court did not agree; they determined that he had quit his job voluntarily and boasted an annual income of $150,000 based on his lifestyle. Most of the problem with the ex-husband’s claims was due to the income he received from his company. He insisted they were loans and that he didn’t work for the company, but documentation allegedly showed that the “loans” totaled as much as $2.8 million.
Although their prenuptial agreement specified that his ex-wife wouldn’t receive alimony, the courts overruled the document because the couple’s circumstances had changed significantly in more than 10 years of marriage. The man further claimed alimony was not owed because his ex-wife’s wealthy parents could support her, but the courts disagreed and asserted that the parents did not have a responsibility for her financial well-being.
When a business is involved in a high-asset divorce case, one partner might try to hide funds when assets are divided. A family lawyer might be able to help clients uncover hidden assets to ensure a fair ruling.
Source: Forbes, “The High-Flying Debtor Gets His Wings Clipped In Newcomer“, Jay Adkisson, December 28, 2013