Lamar Odom is in a world of hurt but hopefully on his way to recovery. The LA Times has published, tongue in cheek, that the worst thing about the situation is that the Kardashians will have more exposure. No, that is not the worst thing that could happen.

He has a wife (at least until there is a divorce), relatives and responsibilities. Hopefully he has a trust so that in the event the worst happens, federal and state officials do not lock up his assets in probate. A will would be nice to decree where his assets should go and in what order. Those basketballs that he has been saving? What relative or friend gets these keepsakes?

None of us want to face our own mortality, but we need to before situations are forced on us. As philosopher José Ortega Y Gassett said “No decision is a decision as well. “

 

Since I wrote this post in February 2013, Alex Collins has weathered his mother’s attempt to keep him from enrolling at the University of Arkansas and become one of the best, if not perhaps the most underrated, running back in the country. Through eight games this year for a surprisingly competitive (they lost to Alabama 14-13 and beat Texas A&M 35-28) Razorbacks team, Alex has rushed for 747 yards on 118 carries (6.3 yards per carry) for scored 9 touchdowns. In his freshman year, he justified his choice by carrying the ball 190 times for over a thousand yards. He is clearly a talented running back, even if he’s splitting carries with a talented upperclassman (Jonathan Williams, 830 yards).

After the news of Alex’s mother running off with his letter of intent and reports of family pressure to play close at home at the University of Miami broke, I think many felt like there were uglier issues at play: promises from boosters; favors; money. In the end, Alex followed the coach, Bret Bielema, and switched his commitment from Wisconsin to Arkansas. His mother wasn’t in that decision-making process and acted irrationally. Considering Arkansas’s struggles at that point, she might not have been unjustified in her concern.

While no similar issues about parental interference have emerged lately, it is an issue we can expect to see again in the future. For now, the next question may be whether Alex turns pro after next year. We’ll see what his mother thinks about that…


For more back story and a bit more information on letters of intent, please see below my interview on the topic with LXBN TV.

By Aaron D. Weems, Esq.

Editor of Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

 

The stereotype of a family law attorney is that they deal in divorces or are limited to issues between spouses. The reality is that the practice can be far reaching in scope and encompass estate planning issues, business interests, and matters that extend beyond ex-spouses, but that deal with many aspects of a client’s life.  A recent example of how the term “family law” can truly encompass the entire family made news recently in the form of the legal action NFL rookie offensive lineman Tyron Smith had to take against members of his family. Mr. Smith found himself at odds with family members who allegedly had become so aggressive in their demands for money that he had to call the police to intervene. Mr. Smith’s representatives report that about $1 million is missing from him.

Mr. Smith plays tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. While in southeastern Pennsylvania that job description may not get him much sympathy, I think everyone can at least understand and appreciate why a young man who is (allegedly) missing $1,000,000.00 would need to establish some secure boundaries between his family and his money. An NFL player’s career is short; don’t confuse the small number of higher profile long-term players for the general rank-and-file of the NFL. The fortunate ones may play an average of three years; some never make it past their rookie contract or, for that matter, rookie training camp. Mr. Smith, under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, is extremely well-paid, albeit not as well-compensated as his predecessors, many of whom has gone on to financial ruin due to family situations not unlike his.

As reported by Kareem Copeland of www.NFL.com, subsequent reports have come out about the facts behind Mr. Smith’s call to the police and his family disputes there was a disagreement about money (while acknowledging that he has given them a sizable portion of his four-year, $12.5 million contract). Nevertheless, Mr. Smith clearly reached a point where he could not trust those closest to him and had to act out of self-interest to protect himself and his financial stability.

 

Photograph by: Neon Tommy

Photograph by: Neon Tommy

 

Andrew Brandt, who has the distinction of having served on both sides of the NFL bargaining table as an agent and executive with the Green Bay Packers, wrote an interesting account of his experience with young players in similar situations as Mr. Smith. He has experienced the difficulty of counseling a client to act in a way that may hurt – emotionally or financially – someone they love, but sometimes that is a consequence of protecting the client.

Tyron Smith’s experience is not exclusive to wealthy athletes; many people find themselves in situations of having to seek judicial intervention in the form of Protection from Abuse Petitions, evictions, or needing counsel to resolve a financial issue in Orphan’s Court. Mr. Smith clearly found himself in a situation in which he had to consider what legal protections were available to him in order to secure his future. While Tyron Smith’s athletic career may be long, his post-NFL life will be much longer and – whether his actions prove to have been justified or a misunderstanding – he should commended for not waiting until his playing days and money ran out before doing something to protect both.

Roberto Alomar was a great baseball player and should be a lock for the Hall of Fame. As reported by ESPN.com, he also is the subject of at least two lawsuits by his wife and former girlfriend; the girlfriend has settled. Allegations are that he is HIV Positive and that he had unprotected relations with each of them with neither of them having knowledge of his condition. 

Likens back to the Rock Hudson case from decades ago. Rock was a matinee idol and also HIV positive. His live-in lover claimed that they had unprotected sex and that he knew nothing of Hudson’s condition before then. Hudson eventually died and the Estate was sued. My understanding is that the matter ultimately resolved.

 

Courts have trouble with "fear of" cases as in fear of developing AIDS, fear of future disease as a result of malpractice, etc. There are two countervailing concerns. The first is statute of limitations. Courts do not want to wait, nor do litigants to see if, years later, something develops. If nothing else, the fear is now. Alternately, the argument is that the risk is real and so is the fear. Courts have split on these issues and it remains to be seen how a Puerto Rican divorce court will handle. Here is betting the matter settles well before a judge has to rule.

On July 8, 2010, Bill Mears of CNN.com reported that a lawyer sues LeBron James claiming to be his father

Lebron James may be disliked by most sports fans, except in Miami, for his recent ESPN 30-minute announcement to leave Cleveland for Miami, but this man suing him claiming he is the father of Lebron should be despised. He knows he had sex with a woman, who then had a baby boy. He then cowardly waits on the sideline for the entirety of this child’s minority making no move to have a paternity test and prove he is the father. Isn’t that what most concerned father’s would do who think a child is theirs? Not this man; there is no way this man wants to risk raising a child or paying child support to the mother. He is scared to go through normal legal channels to prove paternity because then he’d really have to step up and be a father to this child.

Only when this baby boy becomes an adult, is famous and is rich does this attorney decide that he needs to connect with the man he believes is his son. So what tactic does he take? Does he apologize for bailing on him?  Does he hug him? Does he show him old pictures? Does he take a trip down memory lane with him? No, he sues Lebron for money.  Even having the knowledge that he has blood test which shows that he is not the father of Lebron James, does not stop this attorney.  He continues on in his pursuit of fame and the big pay day by claiming the test is a sham. One would hope that the justice system will work and toss the attorney to the street. If that does not happen, I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the next James family reunion.  Oh happy days.   

 Scott Weston contributed to this post. 

 On May 5, 2010, sportsillustrated.com reported that Dwyane Wade’s estranged wife file an emotional distress suit against actress Gabrielle Union. Wade and his wife are in the middle of a heated divorce.

 

Some belief that the lawsuit is nothing short of pure harassment and leverage.  She tried the same claims within the divorce and failed.   She will have a difficult time proving up her case, especially since the divorce alone and major custody battle would be the primary cause of any child’s stress at their age.   The wife has already failed to follow court’s orders in the divorce and is facing a difficult custody battle.  

 

Can you imagine losing custody to an athlete whose time commitment and demands are so great?  You would have to be a complete disaster to face such a risk.  She may be concerned the Court may put the kids with Dwayne and has sour grapes against this gal because she actually may have a good relationship with her kids.  Maybe she hopes to cause a rift between Wade and his girlfriend by dragging her into litigation and hoping she says to Wade she can’t stand it.  The lawsuit may be short lived. 

In an article by Bill Zwecker in the Chicago Sun-Times, Woods, wife in intense marriage counseling, it was reported that Elin Nordegren Woods is getting a total rewrite of her prenuptial agreement with Tiger Woods. Originally, Woods’ wife would collect $20 million at divorce if they stayed married for 10 years; but this amount could now be as much as $75 million and reduced to 7 years, as reported in the Yahoo Sports’ article, Details of Elin Woods’ newly rewritten prenup emerge.

In the short run, a divorce at this point would be a lot cheaper for Tiger as his estate is currently estimated by Forbes to be around $600 million net worth. In 2004 (when Tiger married Elin), he was reportedly net worth around $266 million. As Florida is an equitable distribution state, all property acquired during marriage through each spouse’s work is treated as marital property, and distributed equitably at divorce (usually 50-50). So it appears Tiger has net earned around $334 million during marriage, of which Elin would be entitled to $167 million. A $75 million prenup is about $92 million cheaper than no prenup.

However, 85% of Tiger’s earnings comes from sponsorships.  As Tiger risks getting shunned by sponsors due to his “transgressions" (the same way Kobe lost sponsors), it’s probably best for him to remain married. It’s reported that under the new prenup, Elin is to be a dutiful wife, show up at public social events, and sign a nondisclosure agreement. So the prenup re-writeup is a lot cheaper for Tiger in the long run as it’ll help keep sponsors interested and income growing.