> The legal and accounting bills for the divorce total four million dollars so far, which is an average of roughly $170,000 per month for the past 24 months. Journalists were quick to mock the poor "broke" guy that had $200k a month expenses, failing to note that legal fees constituted the majority.
That's utterly despicable - Grellas, can you help us put together a plan to disbar and exile everyone involved in the divorce racket or something? Talk about a destruction of wealth, energy, time, and life - it's embarrassing that we let this happen to people in the United States.
Our family/divorce courts and the associated personnel are destructive, vindictive, and capricious. This needs to change. Why do people stand for it? What can we do?
My parents divorced two years ago. I was paying my mother's attorney bills because she had no money and hadn't had a job in 35 years.
After the first bill from my mother's attorney, for $15,000, I asked the firm to cap expenses at $5,000. I explained that I was just a kid and didn't have $15k per month to spend. They agreed, in writing.
Then they didn't invoice for 4 months, and at the end of that 4 month period (when nothing really happened in the divorce), they invoiced for $175,000.
It's currently in arbitration with the Virginia State Bar, two years later. Hopefully we'll prevail, but it's not looking good.
Divorce attorneys are the lowest, most predatory "profession" on the planet. Exorbitant divorce fees are not just a plight of the wealthy.
I have no solutions, and hope Grellas can weigh in on this thread.
Her lawyer (an older, grandfatherly gentleman) treated her in an apparently very caring manner, repeatedly calling her at night to see if she was okay and discuss minor issues of the case, always managing to get her upset and then spend a couple of hours comforting her and giving her advice. Then she found out he was billing for that time, so she stopped answering his calls after five o'clock.
Her husband had a similar realization that the case had turned into them against the lawyers, so they agreed to simultaneously fire their lawyers and hire new ones. Then they went back to hurling neglect, abuse, and mental illness accusations at each other and fighting over custody. Years later, having lived in separate states for many years, they can barely stand to talk on the phone three or four times a year to coordinate on the daughter going to see his side of the family. But in the middle of a nasty divorce, they managed to agree about the lawyers.
But thank you.
(I'm assuming the upvotes are a way of saying "I'm sorry dude, I feel your pain". If so, they are much appreciated.)
Abandon the institution of marriage entirely. Nuke it from orbit, as it were. It's the only way to be sure.
The legal end of it is a mere wealth-redistribution mechanism. The social end of it is made of community who loves to witness people getting into marriages, but they scatter during the demise. So what function does it perform? From my perspective, it only serves to weaken commitment by trying to offload the responsibility of staying together to a legal framework.
Can anybody make a good case for continuing the charade?
Many marriages are entered into by two parties with the agreement that one party will be the primary caretaker of the children (home-maker), which is a profession that is unpaid. The other party will work outside the home and provide money for the family. In that case, the years of work that the home-maker has put in should be recognized as valid work, and in the event of a break-up of the marriage, the home-maker should continue to receive monetary support from the other party, as they (often) have no viable other professional skills. This needs to be enforceable in court in the interest of people whose profession is home-maker.
This is also why gay marriage (and gay divorce) should be legally codified like straight marriage is. People need legal recourse to persist their own standards of living.
If someone entering into a marriage does not want to take on the lifetime of responsibility of providing for the person who is promising to take on the role of home-maker in their household, perhaps they shouldn't enter into a marriage.
The question (probably similar to patents,) is: How can we protect the spirit of why this law is in place (to recognize the contribution of those who may not be directly compensated and give them their appropriate share), without letting people completely exploit and abuse it.
Looked at it that way, its an extremely hard problem with a myriad of economic and social issues along with a bunch of vested interests. Sigh...
That's a valid point, but do we need a one-size-fits-all approach, i.e. all marriages are the same contract? Arguably, we do not, so why not just let the parties directly involved decide what terms to have for their own marriage contracts (which might include inter alia some provision for cheap arbitration rather than expensive predatory lawyers if things break down).
I'm not worried about the external social part of it, but the personal part of it is that many people (including myself) enjoyed both getting and being married. Obviously, YMMV.
I guess that marriage has some "legal framework" but I've never even thought of it in that way. To me it is a personal declaration of two-way commitment, made in front of friends and family, and it's worth as much, and as little, as how you live by it. Same as any commitment, I guess.
I like being married. It's not a charade to me. If you don't like me being married, because you don't like divorce lawyers, so be it.
Most people think that, after they've been living with their partner for a couple of years, they become 'common law husband and wife' with the same rights as married couples. This is not the case. In fact, couples who live together have hardly any of the same rights as married couples or civil partners.
There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’.
British law vs say Roman law.
Because of the widespread nature of the British empire remnants of these laws (and remnants of the Empire, such as the Queen being formally the supreme being in Canada) are still found all over the world, even if a lot of those laws have been abolished in the UK itself.
I think you mean English common law. There's not such thing as "British law" as such, because Scotland has its own legal system (which incidently is partly based on Roman law).
So maybe they're not that crazy :)
What bugs me most about the entire gay marriage debate is that it implies that the government should have control over the institution of marriage. The solution to the gay marriage debate is not to make it legal for gay people to get married, but to make it so that the government doesn't decide who can get married.
For example, immigration sponsorship. As a gay man with a non-American partner, this comes to mind first.
Currently, spouses do not have to testify against each other in court. This isn't codified in any law but British Common law (afaik). There are a few of these pleasantries that would have to be figured out.
Then, there are over 1,000 legal rights codified into contract law. Some of these can be emulated (power of attorney), some cannot.
It's a hard problem.
Reforming marriage laws to apply equally regardless of sexual orientation or to simplify divorce, on the other hand, do seem more like near-term achievable goals.
Don't tell me, let me guess: it was lobbying by lawyers that created that law, right?
The equivalent of the flat tax for divorce: some very simple, predictable rules that require little or no arbitration. Suppose the rule was that Elon gives x% of his assets to Justine within y months of the divorce, plus $z/month, end of story. No lawyers or court fees need to be involved.
It may be a rigged game but he played it voluntarily.
Gene Simmons (from the band kiss) has an interesting approach to this which he wrote about in his book. He never married his long time partner and playboy playmate Shannon Tweed. But he took it even a step further having her and other live in girlfriends sign documents stating that despite living together they would not become common law married.
Trump is ok with marriage, but puts strong pre-numps in place.
Anyway, it's reading articles like this that can really turn you off to marriage as an entrepreneur. It's hard to say whether you're going to be in love with someone in 20 years, much less 1 year, so why put a legal contract on it? It might make more sense to vest your marriage over time or just take your partnership one day at a time without a contract.
AFAIK some state laws have this feature; the wife only gets half after ten years or something.
You mean 'spouse' right?
Edit: Granted, there may not be very many instances (or any for that matter) where the man is going after the woman's wealth, but the point is that the provision applies to both parties.
The courts do not favor the woman, they favor the spouse in the weaker position financially, especially if that spouse was the primary caregiver. In most cases, this is the woman.
This agreement was put in place after they were already married, right? That's what this case is basically about: determining if an agreement made in such a manner is valid.
Which is why, honestly, outsiders should know as little as possible about these situations. We can't know what actually happens so why do we want to be in a situation to demonize one person and feel sorry for another based on this lack of information?
Edit: And due to lawyers’ fees, the couple’s net worth is decreased by millions in the process.
Thanks to the divorce culture of USA, why would any sane person would want to get married?
For me the worst part of this case is that she was offered 80 million, 4 times more than what she was entitled for.... and she wants more?
This wasn't done in a prenup, it was done at a later stage in a legally (at this point anyway) ambiguous manner.
All jokes aside, Elon Musk is a freaking inspiration and it sucks to see their creative potential squandered by a lame court battle.
(PS: Much respect for Musk.)
That depends who you are, who you're marrying, and where you live. Divorces are only this expensive and drawn out in a handful of countries, and milking your ex-partner for all they're worth is a similarly non-universal trait.
Further, some people simply don't have this mentality or a single retributory bone in their body. Those are the people you marry.
People can change over time in ways you wouldn't anticipate, but if you marry someone only once you know them deeply (and if you don't, you deserve what you get), you should be reasonably confident of what sort of person they are or could become.
"Reasonably confident" is a remarkably weak threshold for putting half of one's future wealth on the line. What else does one deserve to get, as "punishment" for not being sufficiently perceptive of a future spouse's character?
Half of your wealth is very very small compared to losing custody of your kids. If she leaves, the legal system will almost always make sure she gets the kids. Unless you have kids, it's difficult to understand how horrible this is for dads.
Smart people aren't universally smart. They're smart at the things that they choose to be smart at. I know a few brilliant people that are geniuses at their chosen field and yet wouldn't notice if their spouse went off to Vegas without them.
You still have to pick the right partner, but if you can do that, it could be a big plus.
But hey, I'm getting married next month, so take what I say with a grain of salt ;)
I'm happily married (6 years in October) and I believe my wife is a great asset to me. However, I believe that marriage remains a major financial and emotional risk.
Things that genuinely make your life better typically are.
Congratulations :) In spite of the subject matter of this story, let's send well-wishes ahead of a joyful and successful marriage for you both.
We've been together 7 years and living together over a year, so I don't feel like it's too much of a gamble.
As for me, no I have not been married to a wonderful spouse and I am sure for every bad experience like Elon's you will find 4 good experiences (my parents have been married for 40+ years). But to answer your question, if its worthed to be married to someone for 10+ years and then getting divorced and finding out that she is sucking the last penny out of you for the rest of your life is NOT worthed; AFAI am concerned. I don't care how much bliss you had for that 10 years or so.
You are mixing up duration and quality.
My parents have been happily married (to the best of my knowledge) for the last 40 years. If they are not happy, they are damn good at hiding it and goes way out of their way to make sure the kids never find out
Especially if some of those tens of millions of dollars essentially pay someone else to tell you you'll get hundreds of millions of dollars out of it.
That doesn't sound too clever to me. Once bitten twice shy right ?
He didn't have a prenup. If he did the case would probably already be over.
That's why Elon put in their that little line that witnesses and council were there for the postnup. If one spouse has council and the other doesn't when they sign a prenup. that prenup is toast.
I'm confused. Isn't this kind of the point of a pre-nup?
If this "threat" weren't hanging over every pre-nup, why would one ever be signed in the first place?
So you're following Felix's advice then :-)
The caveat being that even if you do it this way there is nothing stopping one of the spouses suing the other after the fact for access to the children or more money, so you're not completely off the hook if your spouse later decides to get vindictive.
Geek empathy, unlike classical celebrity gossip, does not travel through word of mouth or through paper tabloids, but rather is propagated via digital electronic pulses, and is registered via upward pointing triangle receptors (▲).
anybody? anybody? grellas?
Curiously, neither site says where this comes from.
Anyway, looks like there is a time difference. The Huffington post seems to be from earlier in the day (possibly an original).
His ex-wife is a gold-digger blogger I cannot hate enough.
The least she could do is to leave him alone with his work.
But I do think titles of articles here are for the most part honest and direct, and that should provide some decent filter for avoiding tech gossip. Like, "Correcting the Record from my Divorce" on Huffington Post will pretty clearly not link to an article that is edifying in the way that you want.
Funny about the PG article... I've been coworking a bit and some of the guys have put up multiple barriers to accessing Hacker News. I'm moving towards that, too. The illusion that I'm getting things done by reading tech related articles a couple hours a day is, er, being disillusioned.
> Nothing that makes me a better programmer...
> ...nothing that makes me a better entrepreneur...
> ...something that satisfies my intellectual curiosity...
HN is simply not the very best source for any of those things you listed. I don't think reading any amount of blogs will improve your programming ability or entrepreneurship as much as simply practicing, or (maybe) reading a good ol' fashioned book on the subject.