When media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his third wife Wendi announced they would be divorcing, it inevitably made headlines.
However, our Birmingham divorce lawyersknow that if all goes smoothly with their separation, we likely won't hear much more about it, as they'll want to keep the details under wraps. Unfortunately, there are a lot of points at which the efforts to reach an amicable divorce agreement could break down.
This is as true for ordinary folks as it is for wealthy couples like the Murdochs. Even though you may not have an empire worth anywhere near what the Murdochs are dealing with, you and your soon-to-be-ex could be contending with many of the same issues.
Let's start, for example, with agreements – prenuptial and post-nuptial. This used to be something we might only hear about in celebrity magazines. But more commonly, people have entered into such agreements for a variety of reasons, from protecting existing assets to shielding certain future earnings. Post-nuptial agreements typically are enacted to solidify the prenuptial agreement and to more clearly delineate assets.
While these agreements are generally upheld, there may still be an opportunity to mount a successful challenge. For example, if a prenuptial agreement is very old or if one party lacked proper representation at the time it was signed, those could be strong grounds for a challenge.
Another example of where talks could be derailed would be the issue of assets. Very rarely is it as simple as splitting everything down the middle. Sometimes it's not even as simple as 60-40. There is a legal distinction between what is known as "active assets" and "passive assets." The former would be something like a business, while the latter would be something like a house. How these assets are divided could depend on each party's individual contribution, how long the two were married, etc. Retirement accounts might also come into question, and different accounts have differing tax implications that must be fully considered, too. Two accounts that are on the surface worth an equal amount may not, in reality, be a fair division.
And then there is the aspect of children. This is often perhaps the most contentious issue in a divorce, particularly if the offspring are younger. Beyond the average monthly expenses, there are also considerations such as school bills, medical bills, child care and extracurricular activities. Combined, this could be as much – if not more – than child support. For a couple like the Murdochs, such issues might be easier to resolve because there is a surplus of money. Where it can get tricky is when you're dealing with everyday individuals whose available income and assets are finite. Even couples who are in agreement on most matters concerning child care might have differing ideas about how costs should be covered.
Ensuring both you and your children receive equitable treatment, regardless of the circumstances of your situation, is of the utmost importance to us.
If you are seeking Birmingham divorce help, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
From a Prominent Divorce in the Affluent Class, Lessons for All, Aug. 9, 2013, By Paul Sullivan, The New York Times