Prenuptial agreement guides divorce of Google co-founder

The co-founder is reportedly worth about $30 billion, but his divorce settlement was not publicly revealed. As for his company, the divorce does not appear to have any impact on ownership or operations. In 2013, the couple separated. There have been reports that the co-founder had a relationship with another woman at Google.

Google remains an investor in 23andMe, the human genome company founded by the co-founder’s former wife. Under her leadership, the company raised $110 million. Her sister, who was among the first employees at Google, continues to be in charge of its YouTube business. The divorced couple has two children, and they maintain separate residences in California. Parenting duties and child custody appear to be shared.

Although this high-profile couple had a prenuptial agreement, their high-asset divorce likely required additional legal support because the agreement would only serve as the foundation of the final divorce terms. A person beginning the divorce process might seek an attorney to help with tasks such as asset valuation and division of retirement accounts. Additionally, an attorney could inform clients about rights and obligations concerning the division of property and child support. In high-asset separations, the division of assets could become complex when multiple business interests and offshore accounts are present. One could also consult with an attorney if challenges arise to a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Business Insider, “Google founder Sergey Brin and wife Anne Wojcicki have gotten divorced,” Alyson Shontell, June 23, 2015

Highest-ever divorce settlement reduced by $4 billion

The divorce of the Russian couple is being heard in Swiss courts. In 2005, the husband transferred much of his fortune into offshore trusts in Cyprus. His wife is not the beneficiary on those trusts, and in 2008, she filed for divorce. The conflict over her husband’s wealth, which he made in the Russian fertilizer industry, has been going on for seven years, and her attorney plans a further appeal. Under Swiss law, she is entitled to half of the marital assets.

The husband also owns the Monaco Football Club as well as real property in the U.S. However, in July, a divorce claim will be heard in Russia that deals with even larger amounts by the ex-wife of a billionaire who is estimated to be worth $15 million.

High-asset divorces may have a number of features that those involving couples of more modest means do not, including prenuptial agreements, property in multiple states or even other countries, and complex trust and other financial arrangements. While division of marital assets is generally supposed to be equitable, this actually leaves a great deal of room for negotiation if the couple is willing to do so. However, there may be additional complications if one spouse is attempting to conceal assets or challenge a prenuptial agreement. Whether property division is decided amicably or through litigation, an attorney may be helpful in representing a spouse’s interests.

Source: CNN Money, “Russian oligarch’s divorce bill cut by $4 billion,” Ivana Kottasova, June 12, 2015

Financial considerations for divorce

Having a good legal and financial team is important as well. Depending on the number and type of assets that need to be divided, individuals may not need to have a large legal team. While spouses cannot share attorneys, there is sometimes no conflict of interest in sharing a financial adviser.

Finally, people should make certain that they get all agreements in writing. If the divorce is amicable, they may feel as though this is not necessary, but they could be jeopardizing their own financial stability as well as that of their children.

Those who are considering filing for divorce may want to take a look at their overall financial situation before discussing the situation with their spouse. This may be a good idea even if they anticipate an amicable split because it can be difficult to predict how people will react in such a stressful situation. People in this situation may want to educate themselves about their household expenses if they are not already well-informed, and they might want to have a consultation with an attorney to discuss what to expect even if they are not yet certain about going through with the process.

The problems of international child abductions

In order to address this issue, the United States and 92 other countries are signatories to an international treaty that covers how countries should handle these matters. However, extradition laws and international legal complexities make things challenging. In many cases, it is difficult to know which country is now harboring the child and parent. Additionally, even when the whereabouts are known, the costs to a custodial parent of traveling to another country to pursue legal proceedings can be prohibited.

A New Jersey congressman has championed this cause in recent years, in part as a result of children of constituents being abducted to a foreign country. Legislation that he introduced and that has become law requires the U.S. State Department to take certain actions against countries who are not cooperating with U.S. authorities in violation of the treaty.

Custody battles are difficult at best to all parties involved, including the child. When a court issues a custody order as part of divorce proceedings, the best interests of the child are paramount in its decision. A custodial parent who is having difficulty in seeing such an order complied with by the noncustodial parent may want to seek the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

Child custody for grandparents and other loved ones

Because the court will assume that the child’s parents have his or her best interests at heart and are making safe and sound decisions to this extent, the third party interested in custody will have to provide evidence to the contrary. Proof will have to show that the parents have consistently displayed a lack of concern and are making poor choices on behalf of their child that may obstruct his or her well-being.

After receiving concrete proof of any detrimental behavior exhibited by the parents, the court will take into account the third party as well as the parents when determining the child’s custody. The judge will hear testimony on behalf of all parties, review evidence and make a decision of what living arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.

If an individual wishes to seek custody of their grandchild, they may find it beneficial to speak to an attorney about their legal options. An attorney may advise what evidence can be useful in a custody matter and what the process will entail. Likewise, if a parent desires custody of their own child when another parent or family member has custody, an attorney may be able to assist this individual in taking steps towards retaining custody.

Seeking emergency temporary custody

Emergency orders for temporary custody are orders that give one parent custody of a child until both parents can go to court and attend a custody hearing. If the child’s home state is considered to be North Carolina, the judge or magistrate has the authority to grant temporary custody if there is evidence that the child is at risk for suffering a serious injury or abuse. Additionally, if there is the potential for the child to be abducted or taken out of state without permission by the other parent, the judge may grant the temporary order.

If the parent and child are in the state of North Carolina but do not live there or have lived there for less than six months, the parent may still seek an emergency order. Again, the child or the parent must be at risk for physical or sexual abuse or be at risk for being abducted. Additionally, parents who are at risk for being subjected to violence may also request custody by filing for a domestic violence protective order.

Child custody disputes may potentially cause parents who are afraid that they will not obtain custody to act out or take matters into their own hands. If a parent has legitimate fears that their child might be abducted or if there is a history of violence or sexual abuse, an attorney may help them seek an emergency order for temporary custody.

North Carolina child custody and relocation

Depending upon the type of child custody arrangements in place, a parent may not move beyond a certain radius or outside state lines without demonstrating a “good faith” reason for the appropriateness of the move and its advantages to the child. Some examples include being hired for a better-paying position, having access to family to assist with childcare obligations or better schools. The non-custodial parent may object and disallow the move.

Depending upon the circumstances, the court may revisit the case and revise the child custody or visitation agreements to make them as scrupulously fair as possible. In some cases, the court may award physical custody to the previously non-custodial parent to help maintain stability in the child’s life. In others, the court may require expanded visitation and communication rights between the parent and child, with either the moving parent or both parents responsible for travel costs.

When examining a child custody modification, an attorney might start by considering how the spouses have interacted through the divorce and after, both with each other and with the child. The attorney may analyze the reasons for the move and whether those reasons, taken as a whole, rise to the level of the child’s best interests. Finally, the attorney might petition the court to allow or decline the move.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Custody Relocation Laws,” Accessed March 12, 2015

Overview of parenting agreements

Once an agreement about child custody issues has been reached, parents generally finalize the agreement by creating a document called a parenting agreement. A parenting agreement is a detailed written plan about child custody issues that is personalized for each family’s unique circumstances. In general, a parenting agreement will include information about where children will live, with whom children will spend holidays and birthdays and how major decisions in the children’s lives will be made.

After a parenting agreement has been created, the document can be presented to a judge so that it can be converted into a legally binding court order. Before approving the agreement, a judge might ask each parent whether he or she has signed the agreement voluntarily. In a majority of cases, a judge will approve a parenting agreement as long as the agreement was fairly negotiated by both parties.

A parent who is having a difficult time communicating with their spouse about child custody issues in a divorce might want to have representation from an attorney. Whether a parent is able to negotiate an agreement outside of court or a court hearing becomes necessary, an attorney may be able to help represent the parent’s position on child custody matters. An attorney may also be able to help a parent to enforce a previously written parenting agreement that is not being honored by their ex-spouse.

Post-divorce retirement planning

Careful planning is essential to ensure that divorced individuals will have enough saved up for a comfortable retirement. Many financial experts recommend that people aim for a retirement income of approximately 70 percent of what they lived on during working years. One of the first steps to take toward this goal is to hire a professional who can advise on financial matters during divorce negotiations and afterward.

Newly divorced people need to review their budgets carefully to ensure that they are saving enough. They also need to evaluate their existing retirement assets and determine the potential for growth of these assets under different scenarios. Another important area to assess is Social Security, which increases the longer one waits to start drawing benefits. If it becomes clear that planned retirement assets will not meet the person’s needs, then it will be important to reset current financial priorities.

An attorney may be able to help a client gain an accurate assessment of joint assets, the better to ensure equitable asset division after the divorce. Having one’s fair share of assets from the marriage allows for flexibility and planning and can make the difference between a secure retirement and an insecure one.

Making a parenting plan outside of court

The first thing to decide is the type of custody you will have, and there are two main types. Physical custody determines with whom the children live. You may decide that you want primary physical custody, which means that your children will live with you most of the time. However, you may share physical custody with your estranged spouse so that your children live with both of you an equal amount, which is called joint physical custody.

Legal custody grants the power to make important decisions regarding your children. Primary legal custody means that only one of you has decision-making power, while joint legal custody means that you share it. If you do not think you can agree on every decision, you could split the decisions between you. For example, one of you may have the power to decide educational and health needs while the other decides religious aspects.

Some other decisions that need to be made in a parenting plan include with whom the children spend certain holidays and vacation time and how you will handle problems that arise in the future, such as one of you moving to a different city or state. While making these decisions, you must keep your children’s best interests in mind.

While it may be more beneficial to amicably agree to a parenting plan, you may not be able to achieve this. If this happens, the court has the power to decide based on the best interests of your children. You can learn more about what the best interests of children means by reading our page on child custody and visitation.