At the end of December 2016, billionaire investor Bill Ackman and Karen Ann Herskovitz announced that they were separating. It is expected that they will file a divorce case in early 2017. What is interesting is that the parties do not have a prenuptial agreement and Ackman’s wealth is estimated to be over $1.5 billion, which means that Herskovitz could be entitled to half of Ackman’s fortune, which would be about $825 million.
The couple has reportedly been together for 25 years, married for 22, with three daughters. Ackman, who founded Pershing Square and Herskovitz, a landscape architect, began their relationship before Ackman earned his fortune. Apparently, the parties never discussed a prenuptial agreement, which may cost Ackman half of $1.65 billion. The parties have a vast portfolio of assets.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into by prospective spouses to fix their property rights and spousal support or alimony obligations prior to marriage. Parties usually enter premarital agreements because one or both spouses want to establish each person’s economic rights and responsibilities in the circumstance of death of a spouse or dissolution of the marriage. In this case, apparently neither party used any foresight to ensure that no unnecessary future conflict ensued over the couple’s assets. A prenuptial agreement would have solved any problems. Of course, the parties may simply desire and agree that they divide everything equally.
Without a prenuptial agreement, Florida law provides for an “equitable distribution” of marital assets and debts. Florida law presumes that all marital assets and debts are to be divided equally between the parties, but that such distribution must be fair or equitable, which means that such property may not necessarily be divided equally between the parties, regardless of title. Florida courts consider equitable distribution based on a required extended list of factors. These include each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, the marriage’s duration, and each spouse’s economic circumstances.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm can offer assistance in drafting a prenuptial agreement that meets all of your needs while offering financial protection. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters. Call 321-DIVORCE today to schedule a consultation and follow our Twitter page for more insights about divorce and family law.