The New Prenup

Traditionally, prenuptial or antenuptial agreements, popularly known as prenups, were a vehicle by which a wealthier spouse could protect his assets and income in the event of his death or divorce from a less wealthy spouse. And that kind of prenup is still made.

These days though, neither spouse entering a prenup is necessarily particularly wealthy, but one or both typically does have some assets and some other heirs whose interests they want to protect.

Most often there are significant retirement interests, maybe a premarital home, maybe a premarital inheritance … and children from a previous marriage or relationship.

And contemporary spouses are equally concerned about and want to protect against the possibilities of death or divorce.

Sometimes prenups also lay out the financial ground rules for the upcoming marriage, such as how common expenses will be paid.

The agreements also set out how assets will be valued from a divorce perspective.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: A New Way to Use a Prenup .


Largest Property Division Awards / Settlements to a Spouse in a US Divorce

No matter what amount of property is allocated to the second spouse in a divorce, the first spouse almost always feels it is too much.

But some marital estates are, objectively, in a class of their own, and the allocation to the second spouse usually follows suit.

So what are some of the biggest ticket divorces?

  1. Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch: Wife Anna Torv received $1.8 billion
  2. Oil Magnate Harold Hamm: Wife Sue Ann Arnall received a bit under $1 billion
  3. Actor Mel Gibson: Wife Robyn Moore received $425 million
  4. Golf Pro Tiger Woods: Wife Elin Nordegren settled for a bit under $100 million

Read more in this Yahoo! Finance article: America’s most expensive divorces


Global Community Re-Visits Equality for Women After Two Decades

Twenty years ago at an international conference held in Beijing, the global community committed to securing equality for women.

Twenty years later, women have enjoyed advances on many fronts but, when it comes to abuse against women, despite more publicity and awareness, and more just laws on the books, there is only a bit of real progress in the trenches.

Violence against women remains rampant.

One third of women have been victims of violence.

One tenth of girls younger than eighteen have been raped.

One third of women who are murdered are murdered by their own partners.

Spousal rape continues to be legal in numbers of countries.

Domestic violence laws are at best inconsistently enforced. And as a result, domestic violence often goes unreported.

Just from an economic standpoint, the price of domestic violence runs high at a staggering $8 trillion.

More encouraging, compared to 1995, girls are as likely as boys to attend grade school.

More women have access to employment.

Death during childbirth has declined by fifty percent.

Twice as many women serve as legislators.

Except for 32 countries, all guarantee women equal rights on paper.

Member nations of the United Nations renewed their commitment to equality for women in a nonbinding declaration now targeting realization of equality for women by 2030.

Read more in this New York Times news article: U.N. Reveals ‘Alarmingly High’ Levels of Violence Against Women .


Young Mother Falsely Accuses Her Own Parents of Abducting Her Daughter

Eighteen year old Mother has 4 year old Daughter

Mother files report with police that her Daughter was forcibly abducted … by Mother’s mother (Grandmother) and stepfather (Grandfather) .. and transported to another town where Mother’s sister (Sister) resides.

Once police locate and interview Grandmother and Grandfather, they advise that Mother left Daughter at a nearby shopping mall four days before and that mall security had contacted them and requested that they come get Daughter.

The local child welfare agency took custody of Daughter and placed her with Sister.

Mother is arrested for making a false police report of child abduction … and held pending bail.

Read more in this Star News online news story: Woman charged in false child abduction report .


Buffalo Parents Charged for Locking Toddlers in Pickup Truck Without Heat During Exceptionally Cold Winter

Here in South Florida, people get arrested for leaving children and pets locked in cars with no air conditioning. Floridians know how quickly a car can heat up in the Florida sun even when it is not extremely hot (by our standards).

Well, Buffalo, NY is near the opposite end of the spectrum.

Mother and Father leave their two Toddlers locked in their pickup truck without heat on a cold day, one of many this past winter. An observant citizen alerts authorities.

Authorities rescue Toddlers. And find marijuana in the truck … within the reach of the Toddlers.

Mother and Father are arrested and charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Father is also charged with possession, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and violating an order of protection.

Toddlers are taken into protective custody by the child welfare agency.

Read more in this WIVB 4 TV news article: Two arrested for leaving kids in truck without heat .


Chinese Boy Going, Going, Gone, and Returned to US … and Mother Convicted of International Parental Kidnapping

Husband and Wife, Chinese immigrants, have four year old Son together. Husband and Wife are separated.

Under their joint legal custody arrangement, Husband has timesharing with Son every weekend, and neither Husband nor Wife is permitted to take Son out of the US without proper written permission of the other parent.

Wife e-mails Husband that she is traveling to China with Son within a couple of hours of her e-mail. Husband e-mails her back his objection.

Husband also heads to the airport, where he shows the airport authorities his court order.

Wife’s flight has already departed, but is recalled from Canada. Upon landing, Wife is arrested for attempted international parental kidnapping of Son.

Wife is subsequently convicted of international parental kidnapping and may be incarcerated for up to 3 years.

Read more in this US Attorney’s Office’s press release: Chinese National Convicted of Attempted International Parental Kidnapping 


Choose: Bear Arms or Rock Foster Babies’ Cradles, But Not Both in Nevada

Nevada Husband and Wife have long term marriage. Life has been good to them.

Husband and Wife wish to adopt foster children into their family. There are many foster children in Nevada in need of loving homes.

Like many people in Nevada, Husband and Wife have gun permits – and own and keep guns in their home.

And because of that, current Nevada law prohibits Husband and Wife from adopting foster children.

A Nevada legislator has now proposed a change to Nevada law to allow people with legal gun permits and lawfully permitted guns to adopt foster children if they lock their guns up in a secure receptacle.

Nevada’s child welfare agency apparently opposes the measure, because foster children are reportedly more fragile than other children and might react badly in the presence of a gun.

Nevada’s current law does not preclude a couple who own lawfully permitted guns from raising their own biological children or from raising privately adopted children. Only foster children lose out on this pool of potential families otherwise ready, willing and able to take them in and raise them.

Read more in this Yahoo Parenting article: Gun Permits Keep Couple From Becoming Foster Parents .


Financial Mistakes in Divorce

A financial planner points out that the financial (and tax) warts in a divorce settlement may be quiescent until the passage of time and / or happening of certain events.

The article serves as a reminder of just some of the reasons that it may be worthwhile to have both a financial expert and a tax expert review any proposed settlement, in addition to your attorney. Each expert brings different knowledge, experience and perspective to a potential settlement.

Some common examples of financial / tax gotchas:

  1. Clinging to the marital home in all events, no matter the cost. While the emotions driving this decision are easy to understand, the math to justify the decision just may not compute right. By the time reason sets in, it may be too late to avoid / recoup losses / expenses.
  2. Impatience to “get it over with” trumps sound, prudent judgment. Example: Just walking away from clear legal entitlements. “I don’t need it.” Even when you – or you kids – do.
  3. Focusing on the upside and ignoring the downside. Transfers of assets to third parties often entail direct or indirect costs / expenses that may, at least to some degree, erode or offset the upside.
  4. Letting Negative Emotions Rule. There’s no way to instantly erase those feelings, especially where they were really earned. But letting them rule probably won’t really serve your best interests.
  5. Getting stuck on one tree and not seeing the whole forest that it is just one part of. You need the entire context to properly assess any component.

Read more in this USA Today article: 5 biggest divorce mistakes financially


Mother arrested for Drunk Driving with Babies in Car

Texas Mother has two Children, an infant and a toddler.

Mother allegedly drives on Interstate but, according to a witness, “all over the road”.

Fellow drivers apparently get Mother to pull her car over, and relieve her of her car keys.

And telephone police. And wave down officers at the scene.

Oh, the two Children are in back seat of the car with Mother while she is driving this way.

And the toddler is not secured in a proper car seat.

Upon their arrival, police observe Mother to be unkempt and soiled, and confused / disoriented geographically (40 miles off target and counting).

Police administer field sobriety tests and breath tests, and measure Mother’s blood alcohol level at 209.

Mother is arrested on charges of DWI with a child as a passenger, endangering a child and not having a child safety seat for the toddler.

Oh, it is later discovered that Child Protective Services had rescued the Children from Mother and the Children should not presently be in Mother’s “care”.

Read more in this KVUE-TV ABC news article: Police: Drunk driver had children in car .


Arkansas Legislator Adopts Girls out of Foster Care and Then Gives Them Away to Another Family … Where One is Raped

Husband and Wife adopt two Girls out of the state’s custody to add to their family, which includes three biological children, Boys.

The Girls allegedly proved to be aggressive toward the Boys and family pets, killing one of the latter, despite therapy.

The Girls’ therapist, psychiatrist and pediatrician all reportedly recommended removing the Girls from their home.

Husband and Wife eventually sought to return the Girls to the state’s custody but were reportedly told that the child welfare agency would have them prosecuted for child abandonment.

Ultimately, Husband and Wife “rehomed” the Girls, that is, gave them away to another couple. This is reportedly legal in the state of Arkansas, where Husband and Wife live.

But one of the Girls was reportedly sexually abused in the home where Husband and Wife transferred her.

The backstory.

Husband is a state legislator.

The child welfare agency and the Girls’ foster parents supposedly tried to discourage Husband and Wife from adopting these Girls due insufficient experience and the presence in the home of their Boys. Husband claimed that the child welfare agency minimized the Girls’ psychological issues.

Husband allegedly dismissed their warnings and exerted political influence to accomplish the adoption of the Girls.

The Girls’ foster parents and a respite care giver unequivocally denied that the Girls were aggressive toward people or pets.

Husband also indicated that Husband and Wife maintained a relationship with the Girls and that the head of the child welfare agency was personally aware that they had rehomed the Girls.

Husband also reportedly maintained that stipends from the child welfare agency were forwarded to the Girls’ new home.

Witnesses reported that Wife believed that the Girls were possessed by demons …


  1. this KATV 7 ABC TV news article: Harris accuses DHS of mishandling adoption crisis and
  2. this Arkansas Times piece: Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris .