When they married fifteen years ago, it made the New York Times. In 2015, Martin Zelman, now 87, wants a divorce. Or does he? That’s the key issue in Zelman vs. Zelman, a uniquely complicated divorce now moving through the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. $10 million is at stake. While you may not be dealing with that kind of wealth yourself, if you’re thinking about ending your marriage in south Florida, discuss your case first with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.
Zelman owns Martin Zelman Enterprises, a real estate and investment firm in Great Neck, New York. Mrs. Zelman is the former Lois Mae Mazer, a retired Wall Street stockbroker. On one side are Zelman’s three adult children, who would have access to about $10 million of their father’s estate if they can prevail in court. On the other side is a prenuptial agreement that promises the $10 million to Mrs. Zelman. The path to divorce court began last year when Zelman’s son, Robert, filed petitions in probate court claiming that his father was mentally incompetent and that Mrs. Zelman was ignoring his needs. Robert asked the court to declare his father totally incompetent and to appoint a guardian to oversee his father’s finances. However, Robert Zelman later amended the petition so that his father could retain the right to divorce because, under Florida law, anyone declared incompetent can’t be divorced for three years.
The issues are the right of adult children to challenge prenuptial agreements and the right of persons declared incompetent to choose divorce, but most observers are persuaded that the real issue in the Zelman divorce is money.
But, perhaps this marriage was doomed from the very beginning. New research finds that couples who spend less on their weddings tend to have longer-lasting marriages than those who splurge. The study found a similar correlation between less-expensive engagement rings and lower divorce rates. Because Zelman’s’ wedding was featured in the New York Times, it’s safe to say that this was no small affair.
The research, conducted by Emory University economics professors Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, was based on a survey of 3,151 U.S. adults who are either married or divorced. The authors believe that theirs is the first research study to closely examine the relationship between wedding expenses and the length of a marriage. Researchers found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Couples who spent $1,000 or less had an even lower-than-average rate of divorce. Obviously, this research won’t be welcomed by the flourishing wedding industry, which encourages couples to spend lavishly on everything from invitations, dresses, and music to videographers and photographers.
Whether your own divorce is going to be complicated or simple – and whether you’re worth $10 million or just ten dollars – you should have the advice and services that an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can provide. If you’re divorcing in south Florida or thinking about it, make the call as quickly as possible.