Monday, January 15, 2007

It's Cheaper to Keep Her

As I am an attorney by trade, whenever people ask me for a divorce attorney referral, I quickly tell them, "STAY TOGETHER!" Most people can not fathom the economic consequences of divorce and don't have the spiritual perspective to accept the responsibility of the choices they made. In many cases, it is monetarily less expensive to carve out the lifestyle you require to co-exist with a despised spouse (e.g., separate bedrooms, separate homes, more vacations, secret lover, etc.) than it is to withstand a divorce.

Case in point, Michael Strahan. I have no love for Michael Strahan. In fact, he comes off as kind of a jerk. But I have to say, he got hosed. I feel bad for all citizens that don't have proper legal representation. And, boy, did Mike have a sorry lawyer. Apparently the terms of his pre-nup allowed his wife 50% of the marital assets PLUS 20% of his yearly salary for every year that they had been married. At the end of the day, Jean Strahan is walking away with over $15 million, more than half of Strahan's net worth. Why the fuck anyone would agree to this in a non-community property state is beyond me. Either Strahan's lawyer was terrible or Strahan is a sucker for love (and all the cousin emotions - bitterness, jealousy, rage, etc.). Either way, Strahan should have had a lawyer to protect him. Sure, Strahan can appeal, but that's just going to cost him more money. And, given that police had to be called to the Strahan home over the weekend, Michael better watch out for mounting criminal lawyer bills.

I have no problem with a spouse being "taken care of", however Mrs. Strahan ended up with way too much. A good lawyer would have forced a settlement. The judgment essentially means that Strahan will have to make a lump sum payment to Jean. A settlement would have allowed a payment plan. To quote Kanye West, don't be surprised to see Strahan "leaving the Superbowl in a Hyundai."

Michael Strahan's counsel seemingly ignored several strategies to protect him. Even if Michael Strahan fully contemplated the large payout, it should have been drafted with a larger time threshold. A large payout is more justifiable when you've been married 20 years versus five or so. Another strategy would have been for Strahan, realizing he had a bad pre-nup, to pay Jean Strahan during the marriage to induce her to sign a more reasonable agreement. A couple of million dollars then would have saved him the strain of the payout he faces now. Also, Strahan could have asked Jean to restructure the division in the pre-nup so that it was more asset based than cash based. Again, that would have saved Strahan some pain today. However, his legal counsel apparently didn't consider these things. Simply put, Strahan's lawyer was trash.

And what remains to be seen is whether Jason Kidd will fall in the same trap as Strahan. Again, I have no love for Kidd. In fact, he comes off as a jerk. However, the public wrangling will not save him and may, in fact, backfire. My advice would be to settle and settle quickly. There's no benefit to embarrassing himself and Joumana just to save coin. And, as Strahan's case illuminates, Kidd probably won't save a dime. In the meantime, the Kidds will be front page fodder for the Post and the Daily News. Will it be worth it?


Phil said...

It seems like you could fill a very real need among athletes. You sent your resume to T.O. yet?

Vegan Viking said...

This is why I love blogs. Most people covering sports are either former players or "journalists" who just cover sports, and have little to no perspective beyond the sport they cover.

But bloggers do something else for a living, and blog about sports for fun. And often that "something else" can provide perspective on sports stories that the usual writers do not.

So what I'm saying is, thanks for the interesting post and giving us some further perspective.

MWCB said...

Good post. I did laugh after reading "I have no problem with a spouse being 'taken care of'" right after reading a sentence about criminal behavior, though. Hey, that's what Michael was trying to do in his visit to the house, "take care of" her once and for all. I have no problem with that either. j/k.

The Fan's Attic said...

so, how many of us damn lawyers are out there blogging away about sports? i swear there are at least 10 who regularly comment on deadspin and a number of other ones, myself included, with blogs.