Facing the financial implications of a divorce can be scary, especially if you have worked very hard to build a profitable business. It is not unusual for spouses with high incomes to be ordered to make significant monthly alimony payments to their ex-partners.
Take, for example, the case of "dog whisperer" Cesar Milan. Many years ago, Milan arrived in the United States with nothing more than $100 and a dream to make it big. Now, he is a successful businessman and television star who reportedly earns approximately $170,000 per month.
In 2010, Milan's wife filed for divorce after 16 years of marriage. The split was recently finalized, and Milan has been ordered to turn over a significant amount of money. He must provide his ex-wife with a $400,000 lump-sum payment, along with $23,000 per month in alimony and $10,000 per month in child support.
In exchange, Milan's ex-wife is bound by a confidentiality agreement that prohibits her from disclosing personal or private details regarding the couple's relationship.
Georgia Property Division Cases
Milan's situation is indicative of what can happen in a divorce when one spouse substantially out-earns the other. While it is certainly important for the less-financially successful spouse to be treated fairly, many high-earning spouses balk at turning over what they see as being rightfully theirs.
Under Georgia property division law, all property acquired during the marriage with the earnings of either spouse is considered to be "marital property" that must be divided equitably between the partners.
Alimony and child support are separate issues and are usually designed to recreate the standard of living the family enjoyed during the marriage.
Couples can help prevent uncertainty in property division by entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage. They also have the opportunity to create a postnuptial agreement if one becomes necessary after the marriage. These agreements can provide valuable piece of mind in the event that a divorce does happen.
Source: USA Today, "'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Milan to Make Big Divorce Payout," Ann Oldenburg, April 23, 2012.