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  • Social Media and the Kardashian Divorce

    For singer Kanye West, keeping up with his Wife Kim Kardashian on social media during their divorce just became a little harder. Forget the pandemic, the real news is that Kanye unfollowed Kim on Instagram! Few realize that social media can play an important role in a divorce.

    divorce social media

    Gold Digger?

    Kim and Kanye married in Florence, Italy on May 24, 2014. A source reported that the couple had been going to marriage counseling. However, after counseling, Kim filed for divorce this year. The couple likely has a prenup, given the money at stake and considering it’s Kardashian West’s third marriage. Additionally, their biggest assets may be separately owned and operated businesses.

    Their divorce could get more complicated when it comes to their shared real estate assets — including their Calabasas mansion, with an estimated $30,000 bathroom sink.

    Kanye may the wealthier of the pair, with his net worth tied up in Yeezy, with an estimated value of $1.26 billion. His shoe brand is known for sneakers that cost upwards of $200 a pair. Kim’s wealth is believed to be invested in KKW Beauty with an estimated value of $500 million.

    Social Media and Divorce

    I’ve written about the widespread use of social media in society, and how that impacts family law cases – especially when it comes to authenticating documents in a divorce court.

    Some exhibits are so trustworthy they don’t even require a witness to authenticate. Evidence Rule 201 lists matters which a court must judicially notice, meaning a judge does not have discretion but to admit indisputable evidence.

    The list is short and includes laws of the Congress and Florida Legislature; Florida statewide rules of court, rules of United States courts, and U.S. Supreme Court rules.

    Rule 202 includes even more matters, but also provides judges leeway in deciding whether or not to take judicial notice. For example, the statute allows a court to take judicial notice of facts that are not subject to dispute because they are “generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the court”, and facts that are not subject to dispute because they are “capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned.”

    But with the widespread use of fake social media accounts, you have to start to wonder whether the genuineness assumption of evidence in family court still stands. Anyone can set up a fake Kardashian Instagram account.

    The increasing use of electronic evidence at trial, and the ease with which it is impersonated and manipulated, pressures us to bolster foundational evidence more than ever.

    Stronger

    Kanye previously unfollowed Kim and her sisters on Twitter in June. He confessed to being unfaithful during their seven-year union in a song:

     “Here I go actin’ too rich / Here I go with a new chick / And I know what the truth is / Still playin’ after two kids / It’s a lot to digest when your life always movin.”

    Social media is the cause behind one in seven divorces. Social media can not only cause marriages to end — they can impact your divorce and weaken your case.

    One of the first places your spouse’s divorce lawyer will look for evidence is online. Even seemingly harmless pictures or statements can have a legal impact later. When you are disputing child custody, what you post on Facebook can make you seem unfit.

    It can be frustrating to know the latest legal motion in your divorce was the result of something you posted online. Although you don’t have to remove your social media presence during a divorce, caution in posting is advised.

    While your divorce case is pending, limit your posting online. Be careful when discussing things with your soon to be Ex and their friends. Also, be careful of the kinds of photos you post online as they can hurt your custody case.

    Kanye has had a complicated relationship with social media. In July 2020, he claimed on Twitter that he had been trying to divorce Kardashian after she “met with Meek [Mill]” nearly two years prior to discuss prison reform.

    Kanye referred to Kim’s mother, Kris Jenner, as “Kris Jong-Un”.

    Conversely, Kim is playing things well. She publicly supports Kanye after separating, defends him, and asked her fans to be kind to him as he has bipolar disorder.

    “He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words do not align with his intentions.”

    The Fox News article is here.

  • Custody Rights and COVID-19 Vaccination

    Many people are wondering whether you can lose custody rights for not taking the COVID-19 vaccination following news that a Chicago mother lost her visitation rights after she answered a family law judge’s question on the matter . . . incorrectly.

    Vaccination Custody

    Baby, What a Big Surprise

    The mother, Rebecca Firlit, has been divorced for seven years and sharing custody of their child. She has an 11-year-old son who she regularly timeshares with. Earlier this month, Cook County Judge James Shapiro prohibited Firlit from timesharing with her son.

    The vaccination issue was not raised by her ex-husband. Instead, the judge asked Firlit if she was vaccinated during a child support hearing via Zoom, and when she said no, the judge stripped her of all parenting time with her son until she gets vaccinated.

    “I’ve had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor. It poses a risk,” Ferlit told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    According to some reports the mother would not stop overtalking other people. She was upset and yelling, and he muted her after she wouldn’t stop, adding that she later unmuted herself, and the judge temporarily placed her in a Zoom waiting room.

    A 39-year-old desk clerk, Ferlit said she was caught off guard by the judge and was shocked at his ruling.

    “One of the first things he asked me when I got on the Zoom call was whether or not I was vaccinated, which threw me off because I asked him what it had to do with the hearing. I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support. I asked him what it had to do with the hearing, and he said, ‘I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.’”

    Firlit said she believes Judge Shapiro was frustrated because the hearing took several hours, and attorneys were going to ask for a continuance. For now, she is relegated to only speaking with her son on the phone. “I talk to him every day. He cries, he misses me. I send him care packages.” Her attorney said she hopes an appellate court gets involved this week and reverses Shapiro’s ruling.

    Florida Vaccination

    In Florida, the prevailing standard for determining “custody” is a concept call shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility. Generally, shared parental responsibility is a relationship ordered by a court in which both parents retain their full parental rights and responsibilities.

    Under shared parental responsibility, parents are required to confer with each other and jointly make major decisions affecting the welfare of their child. In Florida, shared parental responsibility is the preferred relationship between parents when a marriage or a relationship ends. In fact, courts are instructed to order parents to share parental responsibility of a child unless it would be detrimental to the child.

    Issues relating to a child’s physical health and medical treatment, including the decision to vaccinate, are major decisions affecting the welfare of a child. When parents cannot agree, the dispute is resolved in court.

    At the trial, the test applied is the best interests of the child. Determining the best interests of a child is no longer entirely subjective. Instead, the decision is based on an evaluation of certain factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child and the circumstances of the child’s family.

    I wrote an article on the relationship between vaccinations and child custody in Florida before. In Florida, a court can carve out an exception to shared parental responsibility, giving one parent “ultimate authority” to make decisions, such as the responsibility for deciding on vaccinations. The Chicago case, however, involves a parent’s refusal to vaccinate herself.

    The decision to vaccinate raises interesting family law issues. It is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in Florida and other states.

    Make Me Smile

    Jeffrey Leving represents the boy’s father, Matthew Duiven, who lives in the South Loop. In an incredibly  unbiased and unsurprising statement, the father’s lawyer said:

    “There are children who have died because of COVID. I think every child should be safe, and I agree that the mother should be vaccinated. We support the judge’s decision”

    In recent weeks, debates have raged about necessary protocols to prevent transmission of COVID-19 as students throughout the country prepare to return to in-person school. While some states have mandated wearing masks in schools, others, such as here in Florida, have banned mask mandates, which the governor says protects parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.

    After entering an order sua sponte to suspend a parent’s visitation rights until she received the COVID-19 vaccine, the Cook County family law judge revisited the issue with a new order striking the restriction.

    The Chicago Sun Times article is here.

     

  • Equitable Distribution of Google Stock

    Scott Hassan, known by some as the third Google founder, is finally headed to his divorce trial after nearly seven years battling over the equitable distribution of Google stock, real estate, and other technology stock – estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

    Equitable Distribution Google

    “I’m Feeling Lucky”

    As the divorces of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos show, technology billionaires are trying to divorce quietly, behind closed doors. For example, when Google co-founder, Sergey Brin divorced his ex-wife, he hired a private judge to hash out the details.

    A quick Google search shows that Hassan and Huynh’s divorce is anything but quiet. Huynh accuses her husband of engaging in “divorce terrorism,” such as creating a negative website called AllisonHuynh.com.

    The site contains documents posted of sexual allegations related to Huynh’s wrongful termination suit against her former employer. They claim that Huynh threatened to “kill [her former employer] and then herself” if he ever left her and “kept track of when [her former employer] was out with a new girlfriend,” according to the cross complaint filed by [her former employer] and his attorney in response to Huynh’s suit.

    After being accused of creating it, Hassan admitted to launching the site, seeding it with links to articles written about his ex — and links to court documents from three embarrassing lawsuits that involve her.

    When confronted, he purportedly admitted to The Post:

    “I did, but I have taken it down. It came together in a moment of frustration, when I felt Allison and her attorney were telling one-sided stories to the press. I thought aggregating publicly available information without commenting or editorializing would help … It only ended up making our dispute more public and tense, which was never what I intended.”

    According to sources, in 2018, their estate was valued at $1.8 billion and he wants to give her a minuscule fraction.

    Florida Equitable Distribution

    I have written about equitable distribution in Florida before. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, in addition to all other remedies available to a court to do equity between the parties, a court must set apart to each spouse that spouse’s non-marital assets and liabilities.

    However, when distributing the marital assets between spouses, a family court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors.

    In Florida, nonmarital assets include things such as assets acquired separately by either party by will or by devise, income from nonmarital assets, and assets excluded as marital in a valid written agreement.

    Importantly for this hi-tech divorce, non-marital assets would include assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either party before the marriage, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities.

    “I’m Feeling Wonderful”

    Mr. Hassan was a research assistant at Stanford’s computer science department when he met Larry Page, then a Ph.D. candidate. When Larry and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, Hassan bought 160,000 shares for $800. In 2004, the shares were worth more than $200 million. The shares, now in Google’s parent company, Alphabet, would be valued at more than $13 billion today.

    In 2001 they married in Las Vegas and there was no prenuptial agreement, and they barely discussed finances. Ms. Huynh says she supported the family financially in the early years but her husband denies that.

    In 2006, during the marriage, the husband formed a limited liability company called Greenheart Investments. Greenheart was valued at more than $1 billion in 2015.

    Huynh wants Greenheart to be considered community property because Hassan repeatedly muddied the line between his separate assets and their community property. But Hassan argues that the company should be considered his separate property because it was started with his pre-marital assets.

    Hassan acknowledged during court proceedings that he had set up Greenheart as his own company to keep certain assets ‘completely separate’ from Allison.” She insists it is community property — which partners must, typically, divide equally under California law.

    Hassan maintains “that the disputed assets are properly characterized as my separate property — this does not necessarily mean that the community, or Allison, will not be compensated,” Hassan said. “I already agreed to provide her with a significant amount of money every month.”

    But Huynh purportedly told The New York Post:

    “His miserly position is ludicrous. I pray that a Big Tech billionaire will not get away with his attempt to cheat his children and me while he walks away with everything.”

    The New York Times article is here.

     

  • Equitable Distribution of Sports Memorabilia in Divorce

    The Chicago Cubs’ Ben “Zorilla” Zobrist and his wife, singer Julianna Zobrist, are finally starting their divorce trial this week in Tennessee, and the equitable distribution of his sports memorabilia – jerseys, trophies, and rings – is taking center field.

    Equitable Distribution Sports Memorabilia

    Play Ball

    On August 9th, proceedings will begin in the highly publicized divorce trial, and how the marital estate is to be distributed. For months, the duo’s fallout has captured national attention, with shocking details in the news.

    Julianna wants an even split of all assets and primary custody of the children, with child support. But interestingly, she also wants an additional $4 million – essentially, the “amount of money he failed to preserve by abruptly and intentionally failing to satisfy his baseball contract.”

    The return netted Ben $4.5m of his $12.5 million salary. In April, she was awarded $1.72m from the sale of the couple’s house in Chicago, as well as an additional $772,500 to “purchase a new home as her separate property.”

    On the other hand, Ben alleges Julianna overspent from their marital estate— a court order limited her to spending $30,000 per month for living expenses due to exorbitant spending — he’s seeking 60% of the couple’s assets, and believes his sports memorabilia should not be part of the equitable distribution because it’s his separate property.

    Worse, Ben argues Julianna’s motive in hiding her affair with their pastor/marriage counselor, was to trick him back into playing baseball so there would be more money for them to divide.

    “One would be hard pressed to concoct a more deceitful, sinister, and otherwise inappropriate scheme than wife has devised in this divorce matter“

    According to the Tribune, Ben estimates their marital estate is worth $24 million, while Julianna estimates it’s worth nearly $31 million

    Florida Equitable Distribution

    I have written about equitable distribution in Florida before. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, in addition to all other remedies available to a court to do equity between the parties, a court must set apart to each spouse that spouse’s non-marital assets and liabilities.

    However, when distributing the marital assets between spouses, a family court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors.

    In Florida, nonmarital assets include things such as assets acquired before the marriage; assets acquired separately by either party by will or by devise, income from nonmarital assets, and assets excluded as marital in a valid written agreement. Importantly for this baseball player’s divorce, non-marital assets would include sports memorabilia acquired separately by non-interspousal gift.

    Foul Ball

    The duo filed for divorce after Ben found out Julianna was cheating on him with their pastor Byron Yawn, who was also Ben’s business partner . . . and apparently their marriage counselor!

    Ben filed a lawsuit claiming Yawn, who at the time was senior pastor and elder at Community Bible Church in Nashville, provided counseling to the couple before and during their marriage. He is seeking $6 million in damages from Yawn.

    Julianna hired a sports memorabilia expert to assess the monetary value of many of the items Ben accumulated during his 14-year Major League Baseball career. The memorabilia includes uniforms, which were given to him by different teams, bats, balls and gloves, some of which were used in games, his World Series and All-Star Game rings, World Series trophies, and a 2016 World Series MVP Camaro gifted to him by General Motors.

    The replica World Series trophies are valued at $2,000 each. The Camaro is valued at $30,000. Other items include gifts from teammates and friends such as a Roger Clemens-autographed baseball and a Ted Williams-signed bat.

    The issue comes down to whether those items legally should be considered Ben’s “separate property” or part of the marital estate.

    Zobrist does not consider sports memorabilia “marital assets” for a few reasons. First, he claims none of his contracts with major-league teams discussed baseball hats, gloves, jerseys, trophies or rings as being part of his compensation and because he has no intention of selling them or doing anything but keeping them as mementos for himself and his family.

    He also argues that sports memorabilia are gifted keepsakes from other players during his baseball career. This is a customary practice in baseball and gifts are specifically set out as separate property under Tennessee code.

    The Chicago Tribune article is here.

  • Kelly Clarkson Fired Up About Paying Alimony

    Since he’s been gone, life got very expensive for singer and songwriter Kelly Clarkson. She is especially fired up after being ordered to pay her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, nearly $200,000 per month in alimony and child support according to several media reports.

    Alimony Clarkson

    “Heat”

    The red-hot career of songwriter and television star Kelly Brianne Clarkson started after winning the first season of American Idol in 2002, which earned her a record deal with RCA.

    The kindling for her romance with Blackstock started when Clarkson met the music manager backstage at a rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2006. Their love was ablaze. They engaged in December 2012 and married a year later at a luxury estate in Tennessee. They have two children together.

    Their love extinguished, she divorced Blackstock after only seven years of marriage. Kelly filed for divorce in Los Angeles on June 4, 2020, citing “irreconcilable differences” – and the proceedings have been heated.

    Clarkson lit up talking about her divorce during an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show.

    “2020 has been a dumpster fire and has brought a lot of change also to my personal life. Definitely didn’t see anything coming that came.”

    Now Clarkson has another dumpster fire to put out. She is reportedly burning up about her divorce and fiery custody battle with ex-husband Brandon Blackstock.

    Adding fuel to the fire, a Los Angeles judge ruled Clarkson will be required to pay $150,000 to Blackstock each month in alimony. Additionally, she will need to pay him monthly payments of $45,601 for child support and over a million dollars for his legal fees, according to some media reports.

    Florida Alimony

    I’ve written about subject of alimony in Florida. In every Florida dissolution of marriage case, the court can grant alimony to either party – husband or wife. Not many people realize there are several types of alimony in Florida: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or for the moment, permanent alimony.

    Florida courts can also award a combination of alimony types in a divorce. Alimony awards are normally paid in periodic payments, but sometimes the payments can be in a lump sum or both lump sum and periodic payments.

    In determining whether to award alimony or not, the court has to first decide as to whether a spouse has an actual need for alimony, and whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony.

    Typically, courts consider any type of earned income or compensation — that is, income resulting from employment or other efforts — along with recurring passive income, such as dividends on your investments, in establishing the amount of support you will be responsible to pay.

    In Florida, once a court determines there is a need and the income available to pay alimony – sometimes referred to as the ability to pay alimony – it has to decide the proper type and amount of alimony.

    In Florida, once a court determines there is a need and the income available to pay alimony – sometimes referred to as the ability to pay alimony – it has to decide the proper type and amount of alimony. In doing so, the court considers several factors, some of which can include:

    • The standard of living established during the marriage.
    • The duration of the marriage.
    • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
    • The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
    • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate.

    But, after establishing the music manager husband’s need for alimony, how much money is there in determining the musician wife’s ability to pay?

    “misfits living in a world on fire”

    A source close to the American Idol alum said the Kelly is broiling about her divorce – especially the part about her being ordered to pay nearly $200,000 to her Ex-husband each month.

    “Kelly is dealing with all the emotions one can deal with concerning her divorce. She has been sad, angry, shocked and every emotion one can feel, she has felt it and she never wanted it to get nasty, never wanted it to be a thing that she will have to deal with for a long time, but it is now a part of her everyday life.”

    Another aspect of her divorce sparking a blaze is the fact that, in addition to her paying her Ex alimony and child support, Clarkson is red hot after being ordered to pay $1.25 million to her Ex-Husband’s lawyers, the report states.

    The Fox News article is here.

  • Dr Dre and Temporary Alimony

    Nicole Young will be receiving a substantial amount of temporary alimony during her ongoing divorce from Dr Dre. According to reports, a judge just ordered the music mogul to pay his wife $293,306 per month in temporary spousal support.

    Temporary Alimony

    Nuthin but a Two Hundred G Thang

    Dr Dre, of course, is an American rapper and producer. As a member of N.W.A and later as a solo artist, he sold hundreds of millions of albums and singles during his career. He and music producer Jimmy Iovine co-created “Beats By Dre” which was later acquired be Apple in 2014 for $3 billion. At the time of the sale, Jimmy and Dre both owned 25% of Beats by Dre and each reportedly earned $750 million from the deal.

    In June of 2020 it was reported that Dre’s wife of 24 years had filed for divorce. At the time of the filing some estimated that Dre’s net worth was $820 million. While Nicole’s temporary alimony award would be considered “ok” for most people, the amount is much less than what she asked for.

    In September 2020, Nicole asked for $2 million per month to cover her needs. The recent temporary alimony award amounts to a temporary alimony of more than $3.5 million a year.

    In addition to the monthly cash payments, Dr Dre will also reportedly have to pay for the expenses of their Malibu and Pacific Palisades homes and will pay for Nicole’s health insurance. The couple has two adult children.

    Florida Temporary Alimony

    I’ve written about alimony before. In every Florida dissolution of marriage case, the court can grant alimony to either party. Not many people realize there are several types of alimony in Florida: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent alimony, and of course, temporary alimony.

    Florida courts can also award a combination of alimony types in a divorce. Alimony awards are normally paid in periodic payments, but sometimes the payments can be in a lump sum or both lump sum and periodic payments.

    Pursuant to Florida law a judge can award temporary alimony to either spouse if there is a well-founded request while a divorce action is pending. The standard for awarding temporary alimony is the same as when the trial court considers a request for permanent alimony, namely, the parties’ standard of living along with the need of the petitioning spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

    Even if you are in a short-term marriage, you can be awarded temporary alimony because the duration of a marriage, standing alone, is not justification for denying temporary relief.

    Additionally, even if you have a prenuptial agreement which specifically waives temporary alimony, in Florida temporary alimony cannot be waived by agreement, and may be considered void and against Florida public policy. Instead, a Florida court determines temporary alimony by balancing the needs and ability to pay.

    Forgot About Dre

    Young filed for divorce from Dr Dre in June 2020 after 24-years of marriage. The divorce proceedings have been anything but amicable. Young accused the acclaimed rapper and producer of emotional and physical abuse; which Dre has strongly denied.

    Technically, they are already divorced. Dr. Dre’s marriage was legally dissolved by a family judge after Dre filed a motion for bifurcation, requesting the judge dissolve the marriage and reserve on the remaining issues so they can be resolved later. The divorce case has yet to be finalized.

    The Yahoo news report is here.

     

  • Settling Britain’s Largest Property Division Award

    Billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova are settling Britain’s largest property division award of 450 million pounds. He will be paying her around 135 million pounds in cash and other assets to settle. The announcement ends the largest financial dispute that Britain’s divorce courts have ever seen.

    International Divorce Rates

    From Russia with Love

    Tatiana Akhmedova, who is originally from Russia, decided to accept the cash and art settlement, which represents about one-third of the property division award she obtained in 2016. The parties’ settlement agreement ends a very bitter and long-running legal dispute.

    The fight for assets has spanned at least nine jurisdictions since a London judge awarded Tatiana some 450 million pounds — amounting to 41% of Farkhad’s assets — in 2016. The Former Wife’s litigation budget in pursuing her settlement was expensive too. According to reports she had to borrow fund from a litigation finance group called Burford Capital Ltd., which stated it will receive $103 million.

    “I will burn this moneys rather then will give her”

    Farkhad said in a WhatsApp message to his son in March that year.

    Florida Property Division

    I’ve written about this case in the past along with the subject of property division in Florida many times before. Property division, or equitable distribution as it is called in Florida, is governed by statute and case law.

    Generally, courts set apart to each spouse their nonmarital assets and debts, and then distribute the marital assets and debts between the parties.

    In dividing the marital assets and debts though, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal. However, if there is a justification for an unequal distribution, as in the Akhmedov divorce, the court has the authority.

    However, the court must base an unequal distribution on certain factors, including: the contribution to the marriage by each spouse; the economic circumstances of the parties, the duration of the marriage, or any interrupting of personal careers or education.

    It has been a long-standing rule in Florida that an unequal distribution of marital assets may be justified to compensate for one spouse’s “intentional dissipation, waste, depletion or destruction of marital assets after filing of the petition….”

    Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

    The couple met in 1989, marrying four years later and moved to London. The marriage formally ended in late 2014.

    A spokesman for her ex-husband Farkhad Akhmedov said:

    The intervention in a case over which the English Court should have had no jurisdiction and the involvement of Burford ultimately achieved nothing for Tatiana. Burford and she spent years and millions of pounds on a costly global tour of various jurisdictions in their attempts to seize Luna. Every one of them failed and the yacht remains and will remain in the ownership of Farkhad and the family trusts. Tatiana has ended up with not a penny more than she was offered by her ex-husband six years ago. Farkhad has provided no payment to Burford. Those monies will have to be paid by Tatiana, thus reducing further to her the benefit of a settlement she could have had before the lawyers and financiers got involved.

    The Former Wife was awarded a 41.5% share of her ex-husband’s £1 billion-plus fortune in late 2016. But he did not pay and she has spent years in courts in Britain and abroad in a bid to trace and seize his assets.

    At one point she hired a team to try to secure her ex-husband’s enormous yacht, Luna, from a Dubai dock, led by former members of the British Special Boat Service – the naval version of the SAS.
    Assets separately seized had included the yacht’s private £5million Eurocopter and its £1.5million Torpedo speed boat, customized with a 1965 Ferrari GTO steering wheel. A £40million global express jet had also been taken.

    The Luna was sold to Farkhad in 2014 for £225million, has nine decks, space for 52 crew, two helipads, a vast swimming pool and a mini submarine. They are capable of acting as VIP transport and being lifeboats at the same time. Luna also has one of only two multipurpose custom made lifeboat-limousines in the world at a cost of over £2.8m each.

    The Daily Mail article is here.

  • The Simpsons and Benefits of Divorce

    The Guardian reports on The Simpsons animated sitcom, its longevity, and its influence on western culture. But most importantly, what the Guardian finds really astonishing about The Simpsons is that Marge has not filed to divorce Homer yet.

    Trouble in Springfield

    If The Simpsons was rooted in any form of real life, and didn’t reset itself sitcom-style after every episode, it would be a harrowing drama about a woman trapped in an impossibly unhappy marriage.

    In The Simpsons Movie there is a quiet moment where Marge sits on the bed, silently absorbing yet another energy-draining screed from her feckless husband, before admitting that her marriage has “aged me horribly”. What else would motivate her to divorce?

    For starters, in 1992 Homer was actively considering an affair. In 1994 he deliberately revealed all of his wife’s innermost secrets to the whole town. Then in 1999 he got blackout drunk in Las Vegas and married a cocktail waitress. Worse, in 2004 he drove a car drunk, crashed it, and framed his wife.

    Conversely, before marriage Marge was a brilliant, resourceful, academic young woman. She joined the police. She wrote novels. She briefly became mayor of Springfield. Unshackled from her awful marriage, there would be no stopping Marge.

    Florida Divorce Benefits

    I’ve written before that divorce comes at a high price. You walk away from your marriage with significantly fewer assets and retirement savings by virtue of the property division.

    You can lose more if you have to pay support or alimony. Then there’s the emotional toll. But there may be a silver lining, some divorce benefits you were not aware of.

    The Guardian suspects Marge may be better off after divorce, and there may be some truth to that theory. Divorce may have a few silver linings, some unknown or hidden benefits to take some of the sting away from an otherwise painful process.

    The end of a marriage can mean the end of fights over money. That is a divorce benefit. There is no more struggle over which categories get priority in the budget; no more evenings spent fighting or pleading with a spouse to rein in spending.

    Another benefit is that a divorce is one of the few times you can pull money out of your retirement account early and not pay an early withdrawal penalty. When the court enters a QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) as part of a divorce, it allows for an early withdrawal from the account.

    This money may be exempt from the typical penalty assessed, although income tax still needs to be paid if the money is not rolled into an IRA. Cashing out part of your retirement account can be very risky, but it gives you some benefit to your money you may not otherwise have.

    Divorce could mean better investment returns. After a divorce, you have the opportunity to take over your own retirement planning and investments. Being the captain of your own financial ship could be a financial benefit in the long run. I have also written about there being some tax issues in divorce which may benefit you.

    Sometimes you can structure your marital settlement agreement so that the lower-earning parent becomes the custodial parent, giving your student the best chance of qualifying for the most financial aid.

    D’oh!

    How would the Simpson children fair after divorce? Bart may be forced into taking on more responsibilities, which could curb his delinquent behavior. Lisa would see that there is a path in life that doesn’t involve being crushed by the weight of patriarchal expectations.

    Lost in the Guardian article (as reported in the Los Angeles Times) is the fact that the Simpsons have been divorced before – for 12 whole seasons — according to various summaries of “Simpsons” episodes. In Season 8, Homer secretly divorced Marge because he believed she deserved better but then quickly remarries her at the end of the episode in a proper ceremony in front of all her friends.

    Twelve seasons later, at the time of their second wedding, the Rev. Lovejoy’s license to officiate weddings had expired. So, unbeknown to them, the couple had apparently been divorced that whole time. It was an error they rectified, of course, by the end of the episode.

    The Guardian article is here.

     

  • Superlawyers 2021

    Ronald H. Kauffman PA is pleased to announce founding partner Ronald H. Kauffman’s selection to the 2021 Super Lawyers list in the area of Family LawSuper Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

    Family Law Superlawyer

    Superlawyers

    Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

    The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

    The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

    Florida Board Certification

    “Board Certification” in Florida, mean certification from The Florida Bar, and recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

    Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Certification is the Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

    In addition to being named in Superlawyers, Ronald H. Kauffman is also board certified in marital and family law, currently serve on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and is a member of both the California and Florida Bars. Ron’s recent article “Like Home: The New Definition of Habitual Residence” was published in The Florida Bar Journal.

    Ron is also a frequent speaker, and has lectured to different professional organizations including, the Florida Bar, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Florida Chapter of the AFCC; Miami-Dade County Family Court Services; and The First Family Law American Inns of Court.

    For more on Family Law Super Lawyers visit Superlawyers.

  • A Fast and Furious Divorce Property Division

    Jordana Brewster’s divorce got expensive. The Fast and Furious star’s property division comes at a steep price as she has to buy out her ex-husband from their Los Angeles former marital home.

    Fast & Furious 5,000,000

    According to news reports, Brewster, 41, agreed to pay her ex-husband, Andrew Form, $5 million as part of their divorce settlement, The figure represents his half of their marital home in Los Angeles, which she will keep.

    Additional details of the divorce settlement include that any income Brewster makes from the latest “Fast and Furious” movie is her separate, non-community property.

    Her producer ex-husband also agreed that any income either earns “as a result of their personal and professional effort” from May 13, 2020 and beyond “shall be the separate property of the earning party.”

    Neither Brewster nor Form will receive or pay spousal support. While a judge still needs to sign off on their agreement, Brewster and Form are legally single and co-parenting their two sons.

    Florida Divorce and Property Division

    I’ve written about houses and property divisions before. California is a community property state, but Florida is an equitable distribution state. In Florida, every divorce requires the court has to set apart nonmarital property, and distribute the marital property.

    Florida judges always begin with the premise that the property distribution should be equal, unless there is a reason for an unequal distribution based on several factors.

    One of the factors the court has to consider is the desirability of keeping the home for the kids or a spouse, if it’s equitable to do so, if it’s in the best interest of the child, and financially feasible.

    Some spouses decide to sell but schedule the sale months or years into the future. This happens when a couple has kids, and both parents agree that the house shouldn’t be sold to preserve the school district or allow for easier timesharing.

    There are other problems in a keeping a house in which your name is still on title. In the even that your ex-spouse does not pay the mortgage timely, your own credit will suffer the late notices.

    And, if someone invited to your old home is hurt, that person will sue the record title owners for their damages. If your name is on title as an owner, that’s you! Making sure you have decent insurance on the house may be in order.

    Many communities are experiencing a red hot real estate market. If you can’t wait for years, and need to sell immediately, there’s a silver lining in addition to this being a seller’s market. A fresh start and new beginning after a complete division of all of the assets tying you together with your Ex is the best way to go forward for some people.

    However, there’s a cost of sale. When you sell your house, you pay a commission, and other expenses, like taxes, title expenses, repairs which can average about 10 percent of the sale price.

    The California Marriage Massacre

    Brewster and Form met while working on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.” Form was a producer on the film.

    “We started dating in secret — you know, hanging out in my trailer — because it would have been unprofessional otherwise,” she previously told InStyle Weddings (via People). “But every day, Andrew wore these work boots to the set, and if I was lying down in the shot or there was equipment in the way, I’d look for his shoes. It was comfortable just to know he was nearby.”

    They called it quits after 13 years of marriage in June 2020, and the actress filed for divorce the following month. In a deeply personal essay she wrote for Glamour, Jordana says she was compelled to divorce Andrew due to their vastly different schedules.

    ‘Most of why my marriage didn’t work was not my ex-husband’s fault,’ she said. ‘He loves work. He loves being on set, on location. I knew this from ages 27 to 32, but it became a problem for me once the kids were older. I wanted a partner.’

    ‘So, toward the beginning of the pandemic, Andrew and I decided to separate. The combination of being apart for most of the year for many years and growing apart emotionally took its toll.’

    Just days after their separation, Jordana would reconnect with her current boyfriend Mason Morfit, whom she first met a few years earlier when they were both still married to other people.

    ‘Four days after I separated from Andrew, I was on a plane to San Francisco to visit this man I had met only once but who had stayed on my mind. I knew he’d been separated for two years. I wanted to see him, to confirm whether the image I’d built up in my mind matched reality. What I got was far more than I expected.’

    During a time when the world avoided all contact, when it was mandated that everyone stay six feet apart, Mason and I blended into each other.’

    The couple shared a five-minute long embrace and a kiss when they reunited at the airport. As far as Andrew, the movie producer has since moved on with actress Alexandra Daddario, who debuted their romance in May 2021 with a kissing snap.

    ‘I love you . . . and even that is an understatement,’ she captioned the photo.

    The Fox News article is here.