Every divorce has the potential to be emotionally, physically and financially life-changing. However, when you and your soon-to-be ex are dealing with complicated assets or large sums of money, it is the financial aspect that can take precedence.
When money is at the crux of your divorce, every decision you make can have financial ramifications. While it is said that money cannot buy happiness, in a divorce, it can provide security and serve as a reflection of each person’s contribution to the marriage. Because of this, battles over money in high-asset divorces can be contentious, lengthy and complicated.
In these scenarios, any mistakes that are made can have serious consequences. For instance, one man forgot to sign his divorce agreement, and that one oversight could bankrupt him.
According to reports, the man had reached an agreement with his ex-wife that resulted in him paying her $5 million a year for the next 12 years. All told, she would receive $60 million.
However, because the man neglected to sign that agreement, a previous agreement the former couple had was enforced. The previous agreement had the ex-wife receiving $61 million, just $1 million more than the later agreement, but the terms were much different.
In accordance with the earlier settlement, the man must now pay his ex $11 million right away and $50 million over the next four years. This payment schedule, he argues, will be impossible to comply with; when all is said and done, he says, he will be bankrupt. He has filed a lawsuit challenging the $50 million payments.
While you may not have millions of dollars at stake in your own divorce, this case reminds us that even small or seemingly fixable errors can have serious consequences when dealing with legal documents and substantial assets.
In order to minimize the risk of these types of mistakes, it can be crucial that you work with an attorney during your divorce and property division process. Not only can your lawyer be a critical source of guidance and advice, he or she can also be the second opinion and/or set of eyes you need to avoid making costly errors.
Source: Vanity Fair, “Commodities Executive Who Forgot to Sign Divorce Papers Must Pay Ex $11 Million,” Emily Jane Fox, April 11, 2016