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Category: Kona Divorce Lawyers

A Kona Divorce Lawyer Talks About Baseball and Premarital Agreements

These are probably three noun phrases you never thought you would see in the same sentence. But in the summer of 2011, they all came together, in the Frank and Jamie McCourt/Los Angeles Dodgers saga.

First, a few words about premarital agreements in general. Until a few years ago, only super-rich couples with substantial separate property bothered with prenups. The laws were confusing, even for experienced Kona divorce lawyers. And, Hawaiian premarital agreements were rarely valid on the mainland.

The Uniform Marital and Premarital Agreements Act changed things significantly. It streamlined the laws and is valid in about two dozen states, including Hawaii. As a result, the frequency of prenuptial agreements has increased significantly, especially among Millennials.

Prenups are a lot like life insurance. No one wants to die prematurely. Life insurance prepares people for the unexpected and unthinkable. Likewise, no one wants to get divorced. Prenups prepare couples to face the unexpected and unthinkable.

In as little as one office visit, a Kona divorce lawyer can prepare a solid premarital agreement that is more than divorce insurance. In many cases, these pacts make marriages stronger.

The McCourts and the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers won the World Series in 1988. For the next decade-plus, the club fielded a series of underachieving teams. Fan interest waned, and so did team revenues.

The SoCal power couple Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers in 2004. By the spring of 2011, the team’s finances reached a low point. In June of that year, the McCourts were barely able to make the first payroll. When then-Commissioner Bud Selig vetoed a broadcasting deal, the team filed for bankruptcy.

At about the same time the team was in bankruptcy court, the McCourts were in divorce court. The rather nasty marriage dissolution included allegations from both Frank and Jamie which cannot be reprinted on a family-friendly website.

The final divorce decree included a controversial property division agreement based on an earlier premarital agreement. Jamie agreed to give up her half of the team in exchange for a multi-million-dollar payment from Frank. That seemed like a good deal at the time.

For the Dodgers, things turned around quickly. Roughly a year later, Frank sold the team for over $2 billion. Jamie almost immediately took Frank back to court. She claimed the premarital agreement, which left her about $900 million short of a 50-50 split, was invalid.

Both California and Hawaii are UMPA states. So, the arguments she used are the same arguments that a Kona divorce lawyer would use in a similar situation.

Kona Divorce Lawyers and Involuntary Premarital Agreements

Most contracts, including premarital agreements, are only valid if they are completely voluntary. If one party lacks negotiating power, the pact is a take-it-or-leave-it contract of adhesion. This issue sometimes comes up in fall injuries when the landowner, frequently an amusement park or other such entity, forced the victim to sign a liability waiver.

In the premarital agreement context, mere pressure to sign does not invalidate a prenup. There is almost always pressure, up to and including a “sign or else” ultimatum. Sometimes, the pressure is too much. But these arguments are hard for Kona divorce lawyers to win.

So, Jamie tried a different approach. She argued that Frank withheld financial information, so she did not know what she was signing. A judge later disagreed, noting that Frank provided about a quarter-million pages of financial documents during divorce proceedings.

Additionally, under the UMPA, this involuntariness argument only holds water if the challenging spouse could not have obtained the information elsewhere. And, as mentioned, Jamie was a Dodger co-owner at the time.

Unconscionable Division

There is a difference between “uneven” and “unconscionable.” A 60-40 split is uneven; an 80-20 split is probably unconscionable. The McCourt division clearly met this standard. By just about anyone’s standard, $900 million is an awful lot of money.

However, the division must have been unconscionable when it was made. Kona divorce lawyers deal with this issue frequently. Stock certificates are a good example. Amazon shares were worthless pieces of paper in 1994, and they are a king’s ransom today.

At the time of their divorce, the Dodgers were in bankruptcy court and essentially worthless. “Jamie simply chose the security of a guaranteed $131 million payment, plus more than $50 million in real and personal property, over the uncertainty and risk presented by the valuation and sale of the Dodger assets,” a judge concluded.

So, Jamie lost her court case. She even had to pay Frank’s legal bill. But her story has a reasonably happy ending. The longtime GOP fundraiser is now the American ambassador to France and Monaco. That’s a pretty decent consolation prize.

Learn about How a Kona Divorce Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Assets

Premarital agreements are no longer meant only for super-rich couples. Thanks largely to a new law, premarital agreements are usually enforceable. If you’re gearing up for marriage, are already married or getting a divorce, speak to our attorney to know about how we can help you safeguard your valuable assets against the possibility of an unfortunate circumstance in the future. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kona divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. at 808-331-3113. We routinely handle matters in Hawaii County and nearby jurisdiction.


Kona Divorce Lawyers and the Three Cs of Mediation

Divorce mediation was not very common in the twentieth century. That’s especially true in the days before Hawaii’s no-fault lawfully took root. Back then, a marriage dissolution had a clear “winner” and “loser,” even with regard to things like child custody.

Co-parenting laws, which came along in the early twenty-first century, significantly changed this environment. Today, both parents are expected and encouraged to take an active child-rearing role. An emotional courtroom showdown typically results in lasting emotional wounds. So, divorce mediation is increasingly popular, especially among families with children.

The procedure varies among different courts and different mediators. But generally, after a Kona divorce lawyer gives an opening statement, the two sides retire to separate rooms. Then, a family law mediator conveys settlement offers and counteroffers back and forth between the two sides. If both sides negotiate in good faith and with open minds, mediation is usually successful.

Of course, mediation is not always a good idea. Kona lawyers know that the process usually works when the parties agree on broad principles but disagree on specific issues. In other situations, mediation is a bit more hit and miss. Mediation usually works because, once the session begins, the parties come face-to-face with the three Cs of mediation.


In the old days, post-divorce civility meant very little. The non-custodial parent, who was nearly always the father, often had little contact with the children and virtually no contact with the mother. Today, things are different. The number of single father-headed households has increased by 900 percent since 1960. Additionally, even if the mother is the residential custodian, the timeshare division is much closer to 50-50.

Co-parenting cannot work without civility. Otherwise, there is no way one parent can encourage a child to have a relationship with the other parent.

Experienced Kona lawyers will tell you that civility benefits the parents as well as the children. Most psychologists agree that it is unhealthy to retain feelings of anger and resentment. Years later, instead of remembering the aforementioned emotional courtroom showdown, the parents may remember how, with the help of an unaffiliated Kona divorce lawyer mediator, they were able to work out their problems independently.


This control over the outcome is especially important if one or both parents have issues accepting authority. These individuals usually do not like a judge to dictate orders, and they may try to short-circuit these orders at every opportunity.

Giving parents a sense of control often increases voluntary compliance. Kona attorneys understand that this could mean fewer motions to enforce.

Largely because of the control factor, Kona divorce lawyers often use mediation in other settings as well, such as a motion to modify financial support or a parenting timeshare plan. In these situations, early mediation often works well. If the parties reach an agreement at mediation, they can then file an agreed motion to modify. Sometimes, judges do not even hold hearings before they sign agreed orders in these situations.


Many people have misconceptions about the cost of divorce. Some believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in the form of a lucrative divorce settlement. Others believe that the procedure will be quick and easy. In a few cases, these things are true. But in most cases, divorce is costly, both emotionally and financially.

So, the cost is a motivating factor. According to the Department of Justice, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution save litigants millions of dollars per year.

Mediation is easier to prepare for than trial. Instead of preparing lengthy arguments along with witness examinations and cross-examinations, there is only the brief opening statement. Furthermore, divorce mediation terminates the case early. And, when Kona divorce lawyers get involved, time is money.

Call Today to Speak with a Kona Divorce Attorney at Olson & Sons

Mediation may be a good way to resolve a marriage dissolution dispute. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kona divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. Call us for sound legal help in your case at 808-745-1565. We routinely handle matters in Hawaii County and nearby jurisdictions.

3 Ways Kona Divorce Lawyers Assist In a Grey Divorce

For the most part, the divorce rate has declined significantly since the 1990s. But that’s not true across the board. In fact, divorce among spouses over age fifty has tripled over this same period.

Increased lifespan is one reason for the increase. People are living longer, and being more active in their later years, than they were a generation ago. If Grace is 55 and in an unsatisfying marriage to George, twenty-five years is a long time to stick it out. Additionally, divorce’s moral acceptability rating recently hit an all-time high. People who would not have considered divorce before at least give marriage dissolution a second look.

At any age, divorce usually involves financial and emotional issues. In grey divorces, Kona divorce lawyers must deal with some unique matters in these areas.

Issues to Deal with When Going through Grey Divorce

With the number of grey divorces on the rise, it is crucial for both parties to know what they’re in for if they choose to go down this road. Here’s more on this.

1. Retirement Accounts

Generally, retirement accounts involve both financial and emotional issues. Often, a 401(k) or other retirement nest egg is a family’s largest financial asset. Furthermore, such accounts represent long term security and the reward for diligent sacrifice. These issues are magnified in grey divorces. Frequently, the account owner has been married before. So, the account has probably been divided once already.

Any account increases which occur during the marriage are marital property that is subject to division. The rules are a bit different regarding military retirement accounts. Military divorces also involve a number of non-cash financial issues, such as PX shopping privileges and housing allowances. But that’s the subject of another blog.

If the account owner wants to keep a larger share of the account, many Kona divorce lawyers arrange offsets. For example, if George wants to keep the lion’s share of his pension, he may pay Grace additional spousal support.

The Graces of Hawaii County usually have several options in these instances. Generally, nonowners who receive portions of retirement accounts may do nothing and claim a proportional share of withdrawals, roll the funds into a separate tax-deferred account, or pay a penalty and take the cash.

2. Home Equity Divisions

Regarding younger couples, home equity division is usually not much of an issue. Because of loan amortization, most people pay mostly interest for the first eight or ten years. But if the couple has lived in the house for longer than that, the equity may be significant.

Many times, the judge orders the couple to sell the house and divide the proceeds. But that’s not always the most practical solution.

There is a way to keep the house and divide the equity. Let’s go back to George and Grace. If Grace wants to keep the house, George’s Kona divorce lawyer may draw up an owelty lien for partition. This lien is for his share of the equity as of the date of divorce. Later, when Grace transfers the house, George cashes in his lien.

3. Child Custody Issues

You read that right. Even if the couple has no minor children at home, a grey divorce may have some child custody and visitation aspects.

Divorce is usually harder on adult children than young children. Adults are less emotionally resilient, and adults also have a lifetime of happy family memories. As a result, adult children sometimes “blame” one parent for the divorce. If that happens, the child may retaliate by cutting off contact between grandparents and grandchildren.

Fortunately, Hawaii’s grandparent visitation rights statutes are quite broad. The old parental presumption is gone in the Rainbow State. This presumption gave parents almost complete discretion regarding with whom their children spend time.

Instead, Hawaii grandparents may have visitation rights if:

  • Hawaii is the child’s home state, and
  • Spending time with the grandparents is in the child’s best interests.

The prior grandparent/grandchild relationship is often controlling. If the grandchild spent considerable time with the grandparents, and grandparents were not just babysitters, a Kona divorce lawyer may be able to carve out some visitation time for the grandparents.

Grandparents can usually avoid awkward courtroom showdowns by being open with their children about the reasons for the divorce. It’s also important to remember that weddings, graduations, and other family events are not the proper places to squabble with, or complain about, your ex-spouse.

Hire An Experienced Kona Grey Divorce Attorney You Can Trust

Grey divorce is a new demographic trend and is increasingly being considered by couples in an unhappy marriage. When people over fifty get divorced, an attorney may need to use a different approach to sort some of the major issues that might arise. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kona divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. Call us today at 808-745-1565 to discuss your matter in detail and choose a convenient payment plan.