After more than three months of uncertainty, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant had hoped his life would return to normal after the end of the NBA lockout. But Friday’s divorce filing by his wife, Vanessa Bryant has added more uncertainties to his life. According to Los Angeles divorce lawyer Christopher C. Melcher, Kobe might be losing money too.
“I’m sure that the ‘on the court’ issues have Kobe concerned, but the divorce proceedings could have a much more lasting effect on him financially, even when his basketball days are over,” says Melcher.
Melcher was interviewed in December by NBC4 News in LA, and explained that the length of the Bryants’ marriage is very important in determining the amount of money Kobe may be required to pay to his soon-to-be ex-wife. Melcher states that by reaching the 10-year mark, Vanessa could be entitled to spousal support for the rest of her life, or until she remarries.
“California treats marriages which lasted more than 10 years different than shorter marriages,” says the Los Angeles divorce lawyer. “In a long marriage, a spouse is entitled to permanent spousal support, which could last until the death of either party or the supported spouse’s remarriage. That financial figure is typically set based on the paying party’s income and the supported spouse’s needs.”
Vanessa, citing irreconcilable differences, is looking for spousal support, child support and joint custody of their two daughters. She also hopes to have her jewelry be classified as separate property, including the 8-carat purple diamond ring that Kobe gave her in 2003 following rape allegations.
“There is going to be a gigantic amount of money divided in this case. There doesn’t appear to be a premarital agreement in this case so Kobe could potentially lose half of his estate in addition to paying spousal support for the rest of his life,” Melcher says.
One thing that may be in Kobe’s favor is the necessity by California law to have all gifts between spouses be in writing. The law requires that if the gift was substantial in value, a written statement is required in order to be viewed as valid in light of the circumstances of the marriage. The Los Angeles divorce lawyer explains that the $4 million ring “appears” to be substantial in value, even for Kobe.
“Kobe could argue that the gift was not valid, and that the ring is communal property. This would mean the value of the ring would have to be divided between the two parties,” Says Melcher.
The LA divorce lawyer was also quoted in an article by the L.A. Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/20/local/la-me-kobe-divorce-20111220
About Christopher C. Melcher: Christopher C. Melcher is a Certified Family Law Specialist focusing on complex family litigation and premarital agreements. He has been practicing law in California since 1994. Melcher is chair of the family law section of the California State Bar.
About Walzer & Melcher LLP: Walzer & Melcher LLP is composed of a team of trial attorneys who practice family law exclusively. They handle divorce, custody and paternity cases in Los Angeles and Ventura County. The team is also knowledgeable related areas of law, such as real estate, corporations, partnerships, pensions, taxation, trusts and estates and criminal, which allows them to better serve their family law clients.
Christopher C. Melcher, Esq.
WALZER & MELCHER LLP
Phone (818) 620-8312
SOURCE: Walzer & Melcher LLP
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