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High-asset divorce snafu reminds us: The devil is in the details

Imagine working for months on your divorce settlement only to have it thrown out or dismissed. You stand helpless as hours upon hours of work, collaboration, negotiation and compromise are deemed unenforceable.

This is the situation a wealthy commodities executive recently found himself in after he reportedly failed to address one single detail in his complex, high-asset divorce: signing the divorce agreement. 

According to reports, Daniel and Sheila Rosenblum had gone through negotiations to work out a divorce settlement that resulted in him agreeing to pay her $5 million a year for 12 years. Both sides were evidently satisfied with the agreement, but Daniel neglected to sign it.

Because of this oversight, a judge determined that they will have to revert to an older agreement that was reached. That agreement had the man paying his ex just $1 million more, but all of it would be paid over the course of four years as opposed to 12. He has filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife challenging $50 million he is expected to pay.

Failure to sign documents or file proper legal procedure can put any agreement that is reached in jeopardy of being dismissed. A divorce settlement, like any other legal document, must comply with strict rules in order for it to be deemed valid and enforceable.

There are also instances when a settlement or parts of a settlement can be thrown out by a judge if they contain clauses that are unfair or unjust or if the agreement itself was improperly created.

Because of how much is at stake and how many details must be addressed and resolved in your divorce settlement, it would be unwise to go through this process without legal guidance. A family attorney can help you through the steps of reading, reviewing and negotiating an agreement before ultimately helping you finalize and enforce it. Without legal support, you can wind up making avoidable -- and costly -- mistakes.

Source: Vanity Fair, "Commodities Executive Who Forgot to Sign Divorce Papers Must Pay Ex $11 Million," Emily Jane Fox, April 11, 2016

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