Contentious divorces can come in all shapes and sizes. When your contentious divorce also involves multiple high-value assets, it can become all the more complex. Your hotly contested battle may impact multiple highly valuable real estate properties and perhaps even affect the control of your businesses. If that’s you, you need the right South Florida family law attorney on your side to provide legal representation that is both thoughtful and, at the same, diligent in protecting your legal rights.
In Miami-Dade County, at least one such contentious contest played out recently. The ex-spouses were music superstar Phil Collins and his ex-wife. The centerpiece of the dispute was a $40 million mansion in Miami Beach. In that legal case, Collins accused the ex-wife, along with her new husband, of enlisting four armed men to take illegal possession of the Miami Beach mansion.
The ex-wife asserted that she did not nothing wrong by taking possession of the mansion even after the divorce. Her argument was that she was entitled to reside at the property due to a “verbal cohabitation agreement” she and Collins had established, according to a Daily Mail report.
Ultimately, Collins was able to obtain an injunction and the ex-wife agreed to vacate the property by January, according to Today. Although Collins may have achieved a degree of resolution in his case, if you are a person going through a high-asset divorce in Miami, Collins’ case may lead you wonder… can an argument like this ex-wife’s actually succeed?
Oral cohabitation agreements can be enforceable in Florida
The answer is… maybe. Florida law does recognize oral cohabitation agreements as a valid form of contract. An oral cohabitation agreement is invalid and unenforceable, however, if the evidence shows that (1) there was no “consideration” (which is the thing “of value” provided in exchange for use of the property) provided or if (2) the consideration provided was sex. That includes both explicit and implicit agreements for sex.
So, if you are the legal owner of a high-dollar Miami property and your ex-spouse is asserting the existence of an oral cohabitation agreement, how can you defeat that sort of argument? There are actually several ways. For one thing, which is related to the discussion in the preceding paragraph, you can show that the exchange your ex-spouse offered was really just sex by another name. For example, if the evidence shows that the agreement permitted use of the property in exchange for “love and companionship,” you may be able to persuade the judge that this love and companionship provision implicated sexual activity, thereby making the contract unenforceable.
Additionally, as is true of many oral contract cases, you may be able to succeed by showing there simply isn’t sufficient evidence of the existence of a binding contract. In many oral contract cases, given the absence of written proof, the party who is arguing that the oral agreement existed will need to rely on the conduct of the parties to prove her case. Specifically, she’ll need to show that her conduct and your conduct was consistent with the sort of contractual agreement she asserted. By the same token, if you can show that the conduct in which you and your ex engaged clearly was not consistent with the terms of the agreement your spouse asserted, then that can go a long way toward persuading the court that no oral agreement ever existed.
Whether your assets are worth $500 or $500 million, you want to get what is rightfully yours in your divorce. When your assets are high-dollar ones, achieving that goal can be especially complicated. Rely on the diligent and knowledgeable South Florida family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman to help you to navigate the sometimes trying process of divorce and to achieve the fair and just outcome you deserve.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation.