Everyone makes mistakes. A lot of people make mistakes when they get divorced, or at least they worry that they do. Property division is a complex issue, regardless of the amount of marital property. It is easy to misconstrue details of a divorce settlement or the divorce decree. Courts aren't usually a good place to look for forgiveness for mistakes, but sometimes they will let small mistakes go, for the sake of moving a case forward.
But parties to a property settlement need to remember how courts are going to look at them. That is the painful lesson being learned by a man who reached a divorce settlement, but paid up a little late. He said it was a simple financial mistake that he shouldn't be punished for. Under normal circumstances, many courts might agree, and the other spouse might not believe the issue to be worth fighting over. But this case was different.
The man who made the settlement is the CEO of banking giant Credit Suisse Group AG.
When he made his settlement with his now ex-wife, he agreed to pay her $7.5 million within one year of the signing of the agreement. If the payment was late, he agreed to pay ten percent interest annually. The agreement also said that the interest would be retroactive to the date of the signing of the agreement.
When the one-year mark came around, the man made his payment - but made it twelve days late. To avoid a fight, he included $25,000 extra, for the extra twelve days.
Not so fast, said the ex-wife. The agreement said the interest was retroactive. He really owed an extra $750,000. The ex-husband said that was unreasonable.
Unfortunately for him, the court found that the CEO of a bank ought to understand what he's getting into when he signs a financial agreement. A financially sophisticated spouse cannot expect to get a break on the financial details of a deal he was a party to.
Pittsburgh divorce attorneys who have followed news reports of the case have noted that with additional interest in the $750,000, the ex-husband is likely to owe his ex-wife more than a million dollars for the late payment.
Source: Forbes "Credit Suisse CEO owes ex $750K for late payment" 6/27/2011