Friday, July 22, 2011

A[nother] Final Last Bar Post

I have to admit to a particular degree of sympathy to this year's bar takers: after sitting for the California bar last summer, my plans have changed and I will now take another bar exam, in another state, this summer. I've suddenly become a huge supporter of reciprocity, although I suppose my motivation -- like my anger over the drinking age when I was twenty years old -- will quickly fade.

My new state (Washington) is also a community property state, which means that for the second July in a row I am one hundred percent up to speed on the legal implications of income acquired during marriage. Certainly I am at least as up to speed as the lawyers in Silverman v. Silverman, a very recent divorce case in which a ridiculously wealthy private equity executive made the following argument as to why all that money -- which he acquired during marriage -- should be deemed separate property:
A state judge has barred an "enormously successful" private equity firm executive from presenting in a pending divorce expert psychological evidence he claims will show that "his unique personality traits," or "personal capital," enabled him to amass $450 million in business assets during a marriage of more than 30 years.
. . .

"In purporting to prove that the success of the business is solely attributable to his innate genius, the expert opinion evidence offered by the Husband offers no assistance to the finder of fact in fashioning an equitable distribution of the estate based on the contributions of each party to the marital partnership," Justice Drager wrote.
I don't know what gives me more pleasure: the bench-slap handed to the lawyers who tried to make this argument with a straight face, or the $225 million loss their client is going to take after giving them the thumbs up. The one question I want answered it this: why did he THINK she married him?

[Proof of Husband's 'Genius' Barred in Property Distribution.]



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm loathe to do this, but doesn't the "innate" nature of the husband's genius -reinforce- the community presumption? Doesn't the exceptional talent and labor of the individual put the property into Pereira territory?

7/23/2011 12:13 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I'm loathe to admit you have a point. But only if you don't think it's ridiculous that his "success" comes from his innate, super-human qualities and not, you know, class/opportunity/marital support/luck, etc.

In other words, it only works if you accept that (1) he has special, unique, genius abilities, (2) all of his money is solely attributable to those traits, and (3) his spouse was in no way a contributor.

More likely, it was income earned during marriage.

7/23/2011 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7/23/2011 6:32 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm tempted to write another bar post, just to make your title seem silly.

7/23/2011 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She probably married him 30 years ago because, before all those decades of golf retreats with rich, arrogant private equity assholes, he may have been a nice guy.

@6:32, he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime.

7/23/2011 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, so labor is a community asset, and income is community property? Shit.

7/23/2011 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe his theory is that his business, which I presume was SP before the marriage (or else why have this debate, right???), did not benefit from his "labor" per se, because he IS the business, and the value of him, as a capital asset of the business, appreciated greatly (hence Van Camp).

That'll be 1000/hr, thanks.

(PS im unemployed too, so maybe I'll be following Patrick up to Wash, or another state... North Dakota? Canada?)

7/23/2011 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

North Dakota has super low unemployment if you want to work in their burgeoning energy market.

7/24/2011 2:49 PM  

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