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Divorce May Make You Sick

NEW YORK, July 28, 2009 CBS News

Study Finds Divorced and Widowed Adults Have 20 Percent More Chronic Conditions than Married People

Divdecre  

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Psychologist Jeff Gardere spoke to Julie Chen about the damaging mental stress that may result from divorce.

 

(CBS)  Can divorce make you sick?

Yes, according to a new study that finds divorce and widowhood have a lingering, detrimental impact on health -- even after remarriage.

The study, scheduled to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, analyzes data from nearly 9,000 adults nationwide, ages 51 to 61, and finds those who had been divorced or widowed suffered 20 percent more chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, than individuals who were currently married.

Dr. Catherine Birndorf, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center told CBS News, "With a divorce or with disruption in a family like that,(it) can lead to depression, anxiety, other kinds of psychological illnesses."

Researchers have known for years that marriage is good for your health, but they've been less clear on how you'll do if you lose your spouse to divorce or death.

The study also suggests that divorce can be so traumatic that not even tying the knot again is enough to reverse the physical and mental toll.

So does this mean spouses should stick together even when the going gets really tough?

Birndorf said, "If someone's in a bad marriage, I would want to try and help them figure out how to make it better. But I wouldn't rule out the idea that it may need to end in divorce versus staying together for the sake of health."

In fact, Dr. Jeff Gardere, a clinical psychologist, said on "The Early Show" Tuesday, if you're in a "toxic" relationship that involves physical or mental abuse or in a relationship where you just can't get along, it's best to get out of it because the health benefits of divorce are much better than staying in a bad situation.

However, if you are thinking of getting a divorce, Gardere said you should have a doctor on hand.

Why?

"We're finding that divorce is so traumatic on the system, on your mind, on your body, that it's important that you consult your physician or even talk to a mental health professional about the stress that you're going through so that you don't become sick," he said.

The study also showed the benefits of being married versus unmarried, according to Gardere. Men seem to reap the benefits of being married much more than women in terms of emotional and physical health, while women do better financially because of marriage.

Gardere said that's because women tend to tell their husbands to take care of themselves on an ongoing basis, so they take the advice and care for their health.

"Early Show" co-anchor Julie Chen remarked men don't like to be nagged that way.

Gardere responded, "(Men) don't like to be nagged, but I think if you keep pushing them in the right direction, and tell them it is about love and about staying healthy, so that they can have a good marriage and raise their families, that guys after a while tend to listen."

But what about remarrying? Is it worth it?

Gardere says yes.

"We're finding that it is such a trauma to the system being in that divorce or being widowed that it does take years to come back even if you are married, but the advice we seem to be giving is go ahead and remarry because you can get better in time."


QDROs - Division of Pensions FAQs

1. What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

2. What is a Domestic Relations Order?

3. Must a Domestic Relations Order be issued by a state court?

4. Who can be an Alternate Payee?

5. What information must a domestic relations order contain to qualify as a QDRO under ERISA?

6. Are there other requirements that a domestic relations order must meet to be a QDRO?

7. May a QDRO be part of the divorce decree or property settlement?

8. Must a domestic relations order be issued as part of a divorce proceeding to be a QDRO?

9. Will a domestic relations order fail to be a QDRO solely because of the timing of issuance?

10. May a QDRO provide for payment to the guardian of an alternate payee?

11. Can a QDRO cover more than one plan?

12. Must all QDROs have the same provisions?

13. Who determines whether an order is a QDRO?

14. Who is the administrator of the plan?

For more on Retirement Plans read on...

 

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


Divorce and hard times


Gregory Rodriguez, July 13, 2009 Los Angeles Times

Economic woes often cause marital splits, right? Well, not so fast.
Can't stand your boring husband? Thinking of calling it quits? Well, you should have mustered the nerve to leave him well before this economic crisis. Now you might not be able to afford to live without him, literally.

It's a well-known fact that financial woes are the biggest cause of marital spats. With the economy the way it is, you'd expect lots of husbands and wives to be at each other's throats. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. This recession is so bad that you can count divorce lawyers among those professions that have taken a hit. 

That's good news, right? People are now forced to stay together and work things out. Well, not if history tells us anything. The Depression also saw a decline in the divorce rate, but, according to marriage historian Stephanie Coontz, incidents of domestic violence and outright family desertion went up.

In any case, despite the fact that divorce can cause all sorts of emotional and financial turmoil, its statistical decline isn't as positive a social indicator as one might think. As economist David Friedman has written, divorce is actually a reflection of "an increase in the range of choice available to individuals," and a high divorce rate and the general weakening of marriage "are bad things only to the extent that they reflect a failure of our institutions and expectations to adjust completely to new circumstances." 

In other words, in more traditional days, in which social changes occurred more slowly, we all shared a general idea as to what marriage was and how it functioned. From an economic standpoint, we all understood how the marital division of labor worked. But in a rapidly changing society, it's harder to figure out what kind of arrangement we should make with our spouses. Such changes as the entrance of large numbers of women into the workplace and the mechanization or outsourcing of household duties (from washing clothes to curing bacon) undermined that tradition. 

As the basic marriage deal has shifted, our notions and ideals haven't shifted with it, and the disconnect explains the astronomical divorce rate in contemporary America. We haven't figured out a new marriage model that takes into account the greater range of choices for both women and men. 

This fits right into the fact that we're divorcing less in hard times. In the context of this recession, we have fewer choices, and fewer choices means we're back to a good fit with the marriage model of old. Still -- and a little paradoxically -- the fact that there are untraditional marriages may also be helping husbands and wives withstand some of the emotional and financial stress of economic hard times. During the Depression, the ego blow to a man who lost his job caused marital problems. Today, if a man loses his job -- and his wife is the breadwinner -- it's less likely to create as much unhappiness. 

If it's distasteful to you to look at marriage in economic terms, then it might be easier to consider the economics of divorce. Not only are there attorney's fees to be paid, but the value of the two biggest assets of most marriages -- a home and a retirement plan -- has diminished dramatically. Faced with the prospect of halving their shrunken assets, many couples are deciding to stick it out a while. 

A recent survey conducted by the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts -- who knew? -- found that 68% of its members "have seen clients who could not afford to get divorced because of recession-related financial problems." 

So even as most of us are looking forward to happier days of an economic recovery, there must be a number of Americans who are waiting patiently to be able to afford to experience the pain and suffering of divorce. You've heard of the pent-up desire and aspiration that are released after times of war? That's why we get such phenomena as baby booms. When this economic recovery finally arrives, prepare yourselves for a boom of an entirely different sort.

write to George Rodriguez: grodriguez@latimescolumnists.com

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

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Divorce and Money

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Retirement Plans FAQs

1. Types Of Retirement Plans

2. Earning Retirement Benefits 

3. Plan Information To Review

4. Payment Of Benefits

5.Taking Your Retirement Benefit With You

6. Your Benefit During A Plan Termination Or Company Merger

7. Divorce - Potential Claims Against Your Benefit

In general, your retirement plan is safe from claims by other people. Creditors to whom you owe money cannot make a claim against funds that you have in a retirement plan. For example, if you leave your employer and transfer your 401(k) account into an individual retirement account (IRA), creditors generally cannot get access to those IRA funds even if you declare bankruptcy.Federal law does make an exception for family support and the division of property at divorce. A state court can award part or all of a participant's retirement benefit to the spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent. The recipient named in the order is called the alternate payee. The court issues a specific court order, called a domestic relations order, which can be in the form of a state court judgment, decree or order, or court approval of a property settlement agreement. The order must relate to child support, alimony, or marital property rights, and must be made under state domestic relations law. The plan administrator determines if the order is a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) under the plan's procedures and then notifies the participant and the alternate payee. If the participant is still employed, a QDRO can require payment to the alternate payee to begin on or after the participant's earliest possible retirement age available under the plan. These rules apply to both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. (see QDROs)


Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


Keeping Finances Afloat During a Divorce

Jon and Kate calling it quits might be the news of the moment, but financial hardships brought on by the recession already have helped make separation or divorce a reality for couples across the country.

[Lede]Randall Enos

Yet the recession also is causing some unhappy couples to rethink their marital situation, since a costly divorce would only further deplete already-shrunken assets.

(read more at www.wsj.com)


Money and Divorce

It can be hard to deal with divorce from an entirely rational viewpoint, but letting your emotions get the better of you can hurt your wallet more than your pride.

 

Your best option is to be as honest as possible – don’t try to hide your assets – no matter how badly you’d hate to share them with your ex – as this will only take more time and money to sort out and is TOTALLY ILLEGAL.

Failing to agree over the division of family assets (such as the family home, a business and pension funds), child custody and support and even personal items like CD collections or pets can also cause fees to skyrocket, especially if both parties reach a stalemate over who gets to keep Harry the hamster

 

How to negotiate

Collaborative law is growing in popularity. Rather than attorneys exchanging a series of angry (and expensive) letters as they negotiate the terms of the settlement and ending up in court if they can't agree, instead both parties sit down with their respective attorneys to, if possible, work out the terms of the settlement. This only works if both sides are prepared to be constructive and, again, make full-disclosure of their assets. It is an “all cards on the table” exercise but, if successful, can reduce the legal costs of divorce considerably.

Collaborative law is not dissimilar to mediation, although this has proven unpopular with couples as there is usually only one mediator involved who can give advice to both parties, meaning one often feels short-changed at the end of the process.

In collaborative law, your attorney is present during the meetings and if a settlement can’t be reached, the same attorney can’t go on to represent you in court, thus eliminating any incentive to draw out the process in hope of a larger fee.

 

Protect your assets

If you are experiencing an emotional or bitter divorce then make sure, if you do choose to get married again, that you’re prepared for the worst. A prenup, is a worthwhile consideration particularly where one party is bringing significant assets into the marriage. It is intended that the prenup would provide the couple with a framework for dividing the assets on a divorce. (read more on pre-nups) Finally, no matter how betrayed you feel, or how bitter the divorce, it is almost always best to grin and bear the pain even after the proceedings are over rather than harbour a grudge into eternity.

The benefit of couples dealing with matters amicably is that this will hopefully enable them to communicate sensibly with their former spouse in the future.  Many divorcing couples seem to forget that, following the resolution of the proceedings between them, that they may still need to have contact with their former spouse, particularly where children are involved. (read more on child custody) Generally where the couple have conducted the proceedings amicably, there seems to be a better prospect of them avoiding further disputes with their former spouse. (read more on hidden assets)


Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 

 


Debbie Rowe tells US reporter she'll seek custody of Michael's children

Debbie-Rowe-bDespite earlier claims, it now appears as though Debbie Rowe has said she is looking for custody of their two children. The former nurse broke the silence she has maintained since the singer's death during a late phone call to a local NBC reporter, who quoted her as saying: "They are my flesh and blood. I'm going after my children." 

Debbie gave birth to Michael Jackson's two elder children, Prince Michael, 12 and 11-year-old Paris Katherine, during their two-year marriage. She has also reportedly said she would consider raising his youngest, seven-year-old Prince Michael II, born to a surrogate mother. 

After the news broke of her desire to seek custody, Debbie's lawyer said she was still considering her options, and had "not reached a final decision".

Lawyer Eric George did not challenge the accuracy of the NBC report, however. " I came to learn this morning that she shared some of her thoughts late last night with a local reporter," he said. 

"I have no reason to doubt that what was reported from that conversation was accurately and ethically reported But that said, it would be a distortion of the truth to allow that single snapshot from a single conversation to stand in the truth of Debbie's position on these sensitive matters." 

A custody hearing which was scheduled for Monday has been postponed until July 13 at the request of Debbie's team.

Fifty-year-old Debbie relinquished parental rights after her divorce in 1999, but sought them again in 2003. An appeals court hearing then ruled there was an error in the petition she had filed to give Michael full custody, but the former couple settled out of court in 2006. 

In his will, filed this week, there is nothing to suggest that Debbie would be guardian to his children, with Michael naming his mother Katherine Jackson and Diana Ross as a backup.

Michael's 2002 will includes a clause which states that the pop star "intentionally omitted to provide for" former wife Debbie Rowe Photo: © Getty Images


Los Angeles Child Custody Attorney call now (310)247-9913


DIVORCE FAQ

1. What are grounds for divorce in California?

2. Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?

3. Do I have any options in how I handle my divorce?

4. Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?

5. Is there a simplified process for getting a divorce?

6. How do I file for divorce?

7. What should I do if my spouse injures me?

8. How can I get information from my spouse about our property and finances?

9. How will our property be divided?

10. What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?

11. What happens to our children when we separate?

12. What happens if we cannot agree on custody?

13. What choices does the judge have in granting custody or visitation rights?

14. Will the judge consider our children's wishes?

15. Is the dissolution process the same for registered domestic partners?

16. Do I need a lawyer?

17. How can I find and hire the right lawyer?

18. How can I get a divorce through mediation?

19. Can I handle my own divorce without a lawyer?

20. What can I do to make my case faster and cheaper?

For divorce terminology check our glossary site

 

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


How to Find Hidden Assets?

The divorce process is a time of mistrust for each spouse, and right or wrong, each may accuse the other of hiding assets.

Assets are traditionally hidden in one of four ways:

  • The person denies the existence of an asset
  • Assets are transferred to a third party
  • The person claims the asset was lost or dissipated
  • Creation of false debt.

So where to look? (read more)

 

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


Judges back pre-nuptial agreements as heiress wins battle against husband

Senior judges rewrote the divorce laws yesterday to give resounding backing to prenuptial contracts and bring England into line with the rest of Europe. One of Germany’s richest women secured victory in the Court of Appeal in enforcing a prenuptial agreement with her former husband.

The judges said that England should not be out of step with other countries, condemning existing law — under which prenuptial contracts are not enforceable — as “patronising” and outdated.

They upheld a challenge brought by Katrin Radmacher, 39, an heiress said to be worth £100 million, ruling that a prenuptial contract should be decisive when the courts divide a couple’s assets after a marriage fails.

Until now, judges have regarded prenuptial agreements as “persuasive” but in future, courts will regard them as binding unless there is a reason not to do so.

Ms Radmacher’s former husband, Nicolas Granatino, 37, a banker who has become a student, had agreed not to make any claims on her fortune if they split up but was awarded £5.85 million for his own use by a High Court judge last year.

Lord Justice Thorpe said that any rule that prenuptial contracts are void seemed “to be increasingly unrealistic” and “reflects the laws and morals of earlier generations”. He added: “As a society we should be seeking to reduce and not to maintain rules of law that divide us from the majority of the member states of Europe.”

Lawyers said the ruling signalled the end of London being seen as the “divorce capital of the world” where people could pursue extravagant claims. Simon Bruce, family partner at Farrers, said: “English courts will now respect the agreements made by couples both before and after marriage.

“It is judge-made law, the courts plugging the gap left by government inactivity.” The ruling would help individuals to become “masters of their own future”.

Michael Gouriet, family partner at Withers, said: “This is a really significant development and shot in the arm for prenuptial contracts, with very senior judicial support for reform.”

Sandra Davis, head of family law at Mishcons, said there would be “a seismic shift” in how the courts approached prenuptial contacts.

“The legal burden will start falling on the person who wants to extricate themselves from the prenup rather than, as now, on the person who wants to uphold it,” she said.

The judges cut Mr Granatino’s £5.85 million award to about £1 million as a lump sum in lieu of maintenance for the couple’s children, with a fund of £2.5 million for a house which will be returned to Ms Radmacher when the younger of their two daughters, who is 6, is 22.

His debts of about £700,000 are to be paid off by the heiress, who had always agreed to that.

Ms Radmacher’s lawyers argued that Mr Granatino, who is French, was heir to a family fortune of up to £20 million and that he had originally planned to become an investment fund manager specialising in biotechnology companies on completion of his PhD, although he now intended to remain an academic.

Mrs Justice Baron, in the High Court, had ruled that it would be “manifestly unfair” to hold Mr Granatino to the deal, given the respective financial strengths of the two sides.

The judge also had some concerns that the prenuptial agreement was defective in that Mr Granatino had not had independent legal advice and there had not been full disclosure of assets.

Ms Radmacher was running a boutique in Knightsbridge and Mr Granatino working for JP Morgan on as much as £300,000 a year when the two met.

He gave up his banking career in 2003 to pursue a doctorate in biotechnology at Oxford. The couple separated in 2006 and were divorced soon after. Ms Radmacher now lives in Germany with the couple’s children.

After the ruling Ms Radmacher said in a statement: “I am delighted that the court accepts that the agreement Nicolas and I entered into as intelligent adults before our marriage should be honoured. Ultimately, this case has been about what I regard as a broken promise. When we met and married, Nicolas and I were broadly on an equal footing financially.

“He too is an heir to a multimillion-pound fortune and, when we met, was an investment banker earning up to £330,000 a year.

“The agreement was at my father’s insistence as he wanted to protect my inheritance — this is perfectly normal in our countries of origin, France and Germany. My father taught me the value of hard work and family values.

“Like all wealthy parents, he feared gold-diggers.

“As an heir himself, Nicolas perfectly understood this. The agreement gave me reassurance that Nicolas was marrying me because he loved me as I loved him. . . that we were marrying for the right reasons.

“Nicolas and I made each other a promise and all I have been asking is that he be kept to it.”

Mr Granatino is expected to seek permission to take the case to the House of Lords for the issue of prenuptials to be reviewed by the highest court in the land.

Prenuptial Agreements done right!

Contact a Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


Divorce, money and recession

Divorce and money are they linked? Of course, it doesn’t take Einstein to work that one out, and the people who are feeling it the most right now are the high earner’s in the stock market. Money causes all sorts of problems in marriage, if you are broke or if you have pots of money most couples will always find reason to argue about it.

A survey amongst financial analysts said a third of current inquiries to lawyers by those seeking divorce, are linked to the credit crunch. 

Could it be that the spouses of the high earners are opting for a quick get out whilst their potential settlement could be of higher value, although other options have said that couples with one high earning spouse do not tent to address problems in their marriage as they would rather not rock the boat.

I think it would be safe to say, one profession who’s marriages will stay rock solid would be those of a divorce lawyer through the economic downturn.

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups 


Analysis: no longer the divorce capital of the world

July 3, 2009 The Times

Pre-nuptial contracts have won the clear backing of the English courts after years of suspicion and even hostility.

The landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal sends a clear message that in future courts will regard pre-nuptial agreements made by a couple before they wed as decisive when splitting their assets on divorce.

The presumption will be in favour of the contract, unless there are compelling reasons why it should be discounted — such as a lack of independent legal advice, or a failure by one side to disclose his or her true assets.

The ruling comes in a case involving one of Germany’s wealthiest women and her student husband. But, as Lord Justice Thorpe made clear, pre-nuptial contracts are not just for the rich.

“There are many instances in which mature couples, perhaps each contemplating a second marriage, wish to regulate the future enjoyment of their assets and perhaps to protect the interests of the children of their earlier marriages upon dissolution of a second marriage,” he said.

“They may not unreasonably seek that clarity before making the commitment to a second marriage.”

Why have the judges today resoundingly backed pre-nuptial contracts?

There has been growing pressure for such agreements to be given statutory force. But despite proposals to that effect in 1998 from the Government’s law reform watchdog, the Law Commission, responses were split — and ministers retreated.

The issue was kicked back to the Law Commission who plan a fresh review, to report in late 2012.

Meanwhile, judges themselves have increasingly been giving greater weight to such contracts, provided there was no obvious abuse or “manifest unfairness”.

But yesterday Lord Justice Thorpe was clearly influenced by the stark contrast with Europe. In Germany, the contract agreed between Katrin Radmacher and Nicolas Granatino, would have been accepted and enforced — as it would also in his native France.

In such countries, pre-nuptial contracts are standard practice. It would seem unfair if people could avoid the effects of a contract just by coming to England,

He added that to say in England that such contracts were void seemed “increasingly unrealistic” and to “reflect the laws and morals of earlier generations”.

That view does not sufficiently recognise the rights of autonomous adults to order their own future financial relationships in an age when “marriage is not generally regarded as a sacrament and divorce is a statistical commonplace”.

And, he added, “as a society we should be seeking to reduce and not to maintain rules of law that divide us from the majority of member states of Europe”; while warning of the danger of “isolation” beyond Europe, in the common law world, if “we do not give greater force and effect to ante-nuptial contracts”.

Another of the judges, Lord Justice Wilson noted that in 1998, most judges believed “only slightly greater prominence” should be given to a pre-nuptial contract with courts only “having regard” to them.

He too expressed concern about the present law’s lack of clarity as well as the contrast between Britain and other countries. The underlying assumptions of our approach, he added, were “patronising, in particular to women”.

The ruling may now go to the House of Lords for a final decision by the highest court, which could yet decide that only Parliament can re-write the law.

Meanwhile, lawyers hailed the judgment as ground-breaking and a signal that London could no longer be seen as “the divorce capital of the world".

Prenuptial Agreements done right!

Contact a Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

 at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell

Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.

Divorce and Money

Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Divorce Lawyers|Attorneys Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

California Prenuptial, Prenups


Divvying Up? Check Taxes

By ANNA PRIOR June 28, 2009 The Wall Street Journal

When divvying up assets in a divorce, make sure you consider what they would be worth after taxes. That's particularly important in community-property states, which mandate a 50/50 split.

"It's important to know that what you do has tax consequences for both parties," says Jackie Perlman, a tax analyst with the Tax Institute at H&R Block.

Take a couple that has an investment portfolio with stock and taxable bond funds that appear to have equal value, and one spouse gets the stock funds and the other the bond funds. Factor in capital gains or the fact that interest on bonds is fully taxable, and the values of those funds don't hold equal weight.

"All of a sudden, you don't have apples to apples anymore," says Amy Barrett, a certified divorce financial analyst in Rockford, Ill.

Another tax issue could arise when divorcing couples sell their house. If a couple bought a house a while ago, capital gains from a sale could be large despite the current housing-market slump.

If the house is in the name of just one spouse, any gain above $250,000 must be reported as taxable income, she says. But if the couple sell the house jointly, they can get a $500,000 tax exclusion. In some cases, Ms. Barrett says, that could wipe out any taxes owed.

Write to Anna Prior at anna.prior@wsj.com



GERMAN HEIRESS CLAIMS ENGLISH COURT VICTORY OVER PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT

July 2, 2009 UK Telegraph

One of Germany's richest women, Katrin Radmacher, has claimed victory in her bid to get a pre-nuptial agreement recognised in the English courts.

Katrinsplit_1435141c  

Katrin Radmacher and Nicolas Granatino. Radmacher is said to be worth £100 million.

Miss Radmacher, said to be worth £100 million, won a ruling from the Court of Appeal that the pre-nuptial contract should be taken into account by the courts when they divide assets after a marriage fails.

Her former husband, Nicolas Granatino, had agreed not to make any claims on her fortune if they split up, but was awarded £5.85 million for his own use by a High Court judge last year.

 This has been cut to about £1 million as a lump sum in lieu of maintenance with a fund of £2.5 million for a house which will be returned to Miss Radmacher when the youngest of their two daughters, who is six, reaches the age of 22.

His debts of about £700,000 are to be paid off by the heiress, who had always agreed to this settlement.

The couple's marriage was said to have broken down after Mr Granatino, 37, gave up a lucrative job in the emerging markets sector in 2003 to become a £30,000-a-year biotechnology researcher at OxfordUniversity. They divorced in 2006.

Mr Granatino is expected to seek permission to take the case to the House of Lords for the issue of pre-nuptials to be reviewed by the highest court in the land.

Representing Miss Radmacher, Richard Todd QC told a panel of three Court of Appeal judges headed by Lord Justice Thorpe at a hearing in April that the freedom to agree a contract was "at the heart of all modern commercial and legal systems".

He said Miss Radmacher had never said that her former husband would leave the marriage with nothing.

Miss Radmacher, 39, said in a statement: "Firstly, I will never regard my marriage as a mistake. I have no regrets as our marriage has given me two wonderful daughters.

"I am delighted that the court accepts that the agreement Nicolas and I entered into as intelligent adults before our marriage should be honoured.

"Ultimately, this case has been about what I regard as a broken promise.

"When we met and married, Nicolas and I were broadly on an equal footing financially. He too is an heir to a multimillion-pound fortune and, when we met, was an investment banker earning up to £330,000 a year.

"The agreement was at my father's insistence as he wanted to protect my inheritance - this is perfectly normal in our countries of origin, France and Germany. My father taught me the value of hard work and family values.

"Like all wealthy parents, he feared gold-diggers.

"As an heir himself, Nicolas perfectly understood this. The agreement gave me reassurance that Nicolas was marrying me because he loved me as I loved him... that we were marrying for the right reasons.

"The arrangements the court has ordered will enable our daughters to live comfortably when they are with their father, and that is the way it should be. Nicolas and I made each other a promise and all I have been asking is that he be kept to it."

Her solicitor, Ayesha Vardag, commented: "For 160 years prenuptial contracts were said to be void for public policy reasons. They were put in the same category as contracts to kill your hated spouse.

"Now, in a landmark judgment, three of the most highly-respected judges in the land have ruled that pre-nups can be decisive in determining the financial division on divorce.

"As my leading counsel, Richard Todd told the court, the genius of the Matrimonial Causes Act is that it allows the law to change with the times.

"Lord Justice Thorpe praised two modern principles: first, that there should be due respect for adult autonomy. Responsible adults should be allowed to decide the financial fate of their marriage themselves without excessive interference from a nanny state; second, that the old public policy argument reflects the laws and morals of earlier generations. We have moved on.

"The Court of Appeal, in a carefully-reasoned, thoroughly modern judgment has enabled English matrimonial law to catch up with the rest of the world.

"From today grown-ups can agree in the best of times what will happen in the worst of times."

The solicitor said Miss Radmacher had succeeded in securing a ruling that the pre-nuptial contract should be decisive.

The heiress had accepted that, in any event, the father of her children should have a home for as long as the children were young enough to need to stay with him.

Miss Radmacher, a paper industry heiress, had challenged the Family Division ruling by Mrs Justice Baron that it would be "manifestly unfair" to hold Mr Granatino to the pre-nuptial contract, which was signed in Germany before the couple married in London in 1998.

Although the judge recognised that the pre-nuptial agreement would have been fully enforceable in Germany or France, she ruled that they have never been legally binding in this country.

She also said that the arrival of the couple's children had "so changed the landscape" that it should be set aside.

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