Mel Gibson & The Passion of the Agreement

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Agreements on Friday, August 12, 2016.

An ill-timed Howard Stern interview just saved Mel Gibson half a million dollars he would’ve paid his ex under their mediation settlement agreement.

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal denied Mel Gibson’s former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, the remaining $500,000 of a pre-agreed $750,000 payment for staying silent about their turbulent relationship after she reneged on the deal by talking about Gibson on The Howard Stern Show in 2013.

I’ve written about prenuptial agreements and marital settlement agreements many times before. Agreements are always advisable in resolving relationship disputes as you have control, to a certain extent, over what happens with your future.

In Mel Gibson’s case, keeping his stormy relationship with his ex-girlfriend out of the media was a priority for the world famous actor, already battling bad press from his alcohol related rants.

In Florida, courts will try to enforce your agreements, sometimes even if the agreement has unfair provisions. A bad deal does not provide a legal basis for the court to rewrite the parties’ agreement or to set it aside.

That’s because bad domestic bargains – meaning unfair or unreasonable property and monetary settlement agreements – are still enforceable so long as they are knowing, voluntary and not otherwise against Florida public policy.

Gibson, 60, had already paid Oksana – the mother of his six-year old daughter Lucia – $250,000, but claims he is no longer obligated to pay her the remaining balance due to her forfeiting their agreement by appearing on the Howard Stern show.

The $750,000 had already been significantly reduced from its original figure, a staggering $15 million, to be paid on the condition that she keep secretly recorded audio-tapes out of the public arena.

But after Oksana, 46, released the tapes – in which Gibson can be heard using racist language and threatening to beat his then girlfriend – the amount Gibson had to pay was drastically reduced.

The appeal court’s ruling means the pianist has only received 1/60 of what she could have received from the star.

The article on Gibson’s big court win is here.