Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Outrageous Divorce Settlement or Just Good Advice? Update 3-24-08

Grandma always advised that it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as it is a poor one. But this author's grandma was admittedly ahead of her time. By 1960, good old Grandma had already been married three times and was once again single. She died relatively pennyless as an example of good advice never taken. I wonder what the subject of today's story would say about Grandma's advice?
Michael Polsky's estranged wife was awarded $184 million Monday in Chicago. This appears to be one of the biggest divorce verdicts in U.S. history. Maya Polsky , a 55-year-old homemaker and art gallery owner, filed for divorce from her husband in 2003. Judge William Boyd ruled in October that Maya Polsky was entitled to half of the Chicago couple's assets. Her share was estimated at $176 million. However, on Monday, the judge amended his decision to include previously omitted assets that increased the value of her award to $184 million. Attorney, Howard Rosenfeld, said more than $170 million of the award is nontaxable cash. He said "She's very much satisfied with the court's decision. She thinks she was fairly treated by the court," The couple married in 1975 in Kiev, Ukraine. They arrived in the United States in 1976 with only four suitcases and $500 in cash. In 1980, they moved from Detroit to Chicago, where Michael Polsky became wealthy in the energy business. Michael Polsky 's attorneys may appeal Monday's decision. "He ...always believed that this shouldn't have been a 50-50 split," attorney Joseph Tighe said. David Meyer, a law professor at the University of Illinois said the Polsky case is "remarkable and historic" because of the size of the award and the split of the estate equally. "Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said he wasn't aware of a bigger award in the U.S. Michael Polsky is now president and CEO of Invenergy Wind LLC, a Chicago-based wind energy company. This case has become the rally cry for some Marriage Strike Advocates.

Update 8-27: There is a separate article on Marriage Strike dated 7-28-07 in the Archives. LINK
Update 1-8-08: Best reason for a prenuptial agreement?
Rupert Murdoch, developed his worldwide media empire when he inherited his father's Australian newspaper in 1952. He was married to Anna Murdoch for 32 years. They split amicably in 1998. The divorce was finalized in June 1999 when Rupert agreed to let his ex-wife leave with $1.7 billion worth of assets, $110 million of it in cash. Seventeen days later, Rupert married Wendi Deng. I wonder if he was smart enough to get a prenup?
Update 3-24-08 Heather Mills got 48.6 million from her split with Paul McCartney? Bet he wishes he would have had wings to fly away a heck of a lot cheaper!

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would say to watch out or the attorneys will take it all.

Probably much of it will be used for legal battles placing one spouse at odds with the other.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I know a man who became the president of a state senate, mainly because he never had to worry about, or spend a second of his time on anything BUT his political career.

His meals were always ready for him when he needed to be charged for the day in the morning, and to recharge him, when he came home at night, to a clean, perfectly managed home.

His underwear was always clean and folded up in the right drawer, so he never needed to waste a second fumbling for them and his shirts, suits, ties and shoes were always ready for him to wear; to face the Press, regardless of the day; 7-365.

The one responsible for his ability to concentrate all of his time and energy on making it to the top seat in the senate, wasn't the family cat.

Legal Pub said...

Certainly a woman's sweat equity is typically worth one half of the marital assets. The question becomes, does their reach a point where the assets are so great that she should only get, say 100 million instead of one half?

Gender lines are typically divided on the answer. There are a group of man in a national organization who are on a "marriage strike" over this very issue. While they appear to be over board, one wonders if there is a possible compromise. I will await our resident expert Viper's comments

Anonymous said...

We men don't need marriage anymore. Marriage is outdated in the U.S. Women need to get a life, and quit ripping men off.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those men who believe that woman should not get half. It ought to be what you bring to a marriage and what you earn during a marriage. No reason men should have to pay for a woman when the woman is capable of working and supporting herself.

Bob

Viper said...

Ok, Pubmeister, I will answer the call. I guess I don't have to use many names since most comments are anonymous. Sweat equity means that a spouse who cares for the home and for the other spouse is entitled to one half of the marital assets because she contributed to the household. In small businesses, this can sometimes cause a hardship if you don't plan before marriage.

Want to keep the lawyers fees down?

Have a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Use trusts to plan before the marriage. There is no substitute for good planning. If you are already married, read Michelle Weiner-Davis book, Divorce Busting.

Anonymous said...

Blond Bombshell said...

She deserves every penny of it! Behind every successful business decision he made was his faithful wife listening to his moaning and whining. For that, she deserves to be compensated.

Men may do a lot of work.
They may even work from sun to sun.
But a woman's work (including listening to the man whine) is never done.


Shell

colleency said...

I wonder if he gets half of the art gallery?

They built their lives together - each contributing in the way they could. Only fair that they should both enjoy the spoils of the life they built.Fifty/fifty sounds fair to me.

Ms. Calabaza said...

50/50 sounds fine, but how is this poor man going to make it on his half of the assets (184 million) . . . he may have to get a second job . . .

Anonymous said...

Iron Mike said...

As a victim of divorce, I say it reaks. My ex was very greedy and did everything she could to alienate me from my kids. She never worked outside of the home. While I did not mind giving her 50% of what I made during the marriage, she should not have got 50% of what I brought into the marriage too.


Iron Mike

Anonymous said...

Blonde Bombshell said...

Mike, stop complaining. Divorce is expensive because it is worth it!


Shell

Anonymous said...

California Surfer Dude said...

Divorce is the screwing you get for the screwing you got!

Surfer Dude

Anonymous said...

Divorce is a rip off!

Anonymous said...

It is time men stop taking it on the chin.


Can you say Marriage Strike! Marriage Strike! Marriage Strike!

There is no longer a good reason for a man to contractually give up 1/2 of what they own.

Anonymous said...

I can see mens point about the marriage strike. For some women, marriage is all about financial security. But for others, marriage is still about love.

Anonymous said...

For too many women, marriage is a business decision.

viperadvocate@aol.com said...

CAN you say PRENUPTIAL? Prenuptial agreements are designed to prevent this problem.

Marriage Strike Supporter said...

I say marriage strike. The words are simple and the advice is strong.

california surfer dude said...

Maya Polsky maya be the richest woman in the United States. She maya be the target of every gigolo in the states and abroad.

Sorry for the puns, but this maya be too big of a temptation not to use this play on words with her last name.

Surfer Dude

Randy said...

The shock of the amount of this settlement never leaves. This is a whole pile of money. Surfer dude, you are right. She mayba be the richest woman in the U.S. Move over Paris Hilton, there is a new catch in town.

Tim said...

Not good advice, great advice. The day that woman got married, she purchased a lottery ticket. The day that woman got divorced, she hit the jack pot!

blond bombshell said...

Not really a jackpot. Just what every woman should get putting up with a man, one half of the assets.

Shell

Anonymous said...

Shell, this case may become the rallying call for males who refuse to marry or remarry.

Marriage Strike Supporter

Viper said...

There is no substitute for a good lawyer!

Legal Pub said...

If some "MARRIAGE STRIKE" advocates email me at

legalpub@legalpub.net

I may consider doing a story on the movement. Your choice.

Randy said...

This case is the poster example of why to have a prenuptial agreement.

Anonymous said...

Bright guy, he should have known better.

Anonymous said...

Please do a story on marriage strike.

Anonymous said...

Marriage strike, marriage strike, marriage strike. Do the story, please.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the marriage strike story.

Viper said...

Prenuptial can provide good protection.

linda said...

Darn good legal lawyering results in men paying for their sins...


Linda

Ginger said...

A woman is entitled to her sweat equity even if she never works outside of the home.

Jimmy said...

This woman is rich!

Anonymous said...

Men get the shaft 90% of the time in divorce. It is not fair!

Billie the Kid

Anonymous said...

See a lawyer for a prenuptial. It will save time and money!

Legal Assistant

Anonymous said...

Polskys are both still rich!

Anonymous said...

Regardless if she were the best housewife in the world, or a child-abusing pig who slept around, she's still legally entitled one half of the community property.

This sense of entitlement has completely negated the attraction of marriage to men today.

Guys, keep your money to yourself. Marriage is about money and children. It has nothing to do with love or affection.

If you want to have children, put your money in a trust before you tie the knot, and get ready to be keelhauled by the sexist family court when it comes time to spend time and give love to your children in the event you divorce.

Stay single, stay happy!

bob said...

For STay single and the others, the story on Marriage Strike (See more recent archives on the right) is on single men who refuse to marry or remarry until the law changes on alimony and property settlement.

It is pretty good.


Bob

Anonymous said...

The 7-28-07 story on marriage strike and its banner is neat. Thanks

Anonymous said...

For those wanting to prevent divorce, read the 7-28-07 Marriage strike article on legal pub. The search function works, just type in marriage strike.

A funny banner is worth reading on catch and release. For those that think you got screwed in your divorce, read this article on Michael Polsky giving up as much as $184 million dollars! Then re read marriage strike!


Jeffrey

Anonymous said...

I like this marriage strike idea. My husband is so lazy, if we had never married it would be so easy to boot his ass out the door until he gets a job!




Jan

patricia L. said...

Any man who marries, ought to pay through the teeth when he divorces. This should serve as a deterrence to all men, tow the line and respect your woman's wishes or pay big time with your wallet.


Patricia L.

Anonymous said...

Pat, women like you are the reason for marriage strike!

Chris

Legal Pub said...

Legal Pub hopes to publish its solution to the divorce/domestic violence problem before the first of the year. Please be watching for the story.

Dollar Bill said...

From my earlier point about training people for marriage we need to stress upon guys and subsequently our court system that marriage is seen as a business for many women with guys as the paycheck. Most of the divorces filed today are filed by women and when she gets her divorce (or fired since it is a business) she gets alimony (or severance pay/unemployment) and just moves onto the next job/guy. Take away the cash incentives at the end of the line and you will see a huge drop in the amount of divorces. Whenever you give money to someone for walking away from a commitment they are going to take off. Stop with the divorce incentives and you won't have as many divorces!!! It's economics!!!

Dollar Bill

Anonymous said...

I was watching the news last night, and they said a govt. survey estimated 41% of newborns were born with single mothers in 2006

In 1972 the number was 10%!


Stat man

Pam said...

There isn't much incentive to get married these days.Back in the day, if the woman didn't marry, the baby couldn't have the father's last name. These days, you can put whatever you choose for a name and that makes sense.

Back in the day, a woman would have a hard time making the father fulfill his financial responsibility in raising the child if you didn't marry. Today it makes no difference whether you were married or not.

Back in the day, there was a stigma attached to an illegitimate "bastard" child. Today, it's not only excepted, it is trendy.

It is just the way it is.

If one of my kids were expecting a baby out of wedlock, I wouldn't encourage them to marry just because of it. It just further complicates a the situation. Plus, those marriages have an even higher failure rate than other situations.

Pam

Claire said...

Pam you seem like you got your sh*t
together!

Legal Pub said...

Update 1-8-08: Best reason for a prenuptial agreement? Rupert Murdoch, developed his worldwide media empire when he inherited his father's Australian newspaper in 1952. He was married to Anna Murdoch for 32 years. They split amicably in 1998. The divorce was finalized in June 1999 when Rupert agreed to let his ex-wife leave with $1.7 billion worth of assets, $110 million of it in cash. Seventeen days later, Rupert married Wendi Deng. I wonder if he was smart enough to get a prenup?

Anonymous said...

Polasky divorce was an economic catastrophy for him...

Anonymous said...

Good reason why men should not marry!

sam sherin said...

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Viper said...

For an example of a 43 million dollar divorse settlement that simply is not enough, see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmcWqCF21NM

PPP Lusofonia said...

Of course marriage is a business decision, for the man as well as for the woman, and especially to guarantee that both parents contribute to raising the kids.
Stay-at-home women put in a lot of sweat equity into the marriage partnerhsip, which may have a lot of opportunity costs. Women who don't work outside the home end up with lower pension benefits.
The economics of marriage, divorce and other family decisions should be required study in high school, so that people can avoid nasty surprises, and can avoid being exploited.
For every woman who "hits the jackpot" there are 10 women who end up at age 40 with children in tow and no child support.

H.H. said...

PPP

Good point. But when women come out of divorce in poverty, it is because the man is in poverty too, 9 times out of ten!

Anonymous said...

Wow!

Helen said...

Too many male appologists. Fact is, a man ought to pay for through the teeth for a divorce.

Fact: If he cheated, he gets what he deserves.

Fact If she cheated, it is because he didn't take care of his woman right and again he gets what he deserves.