Monthly Archives: June 2016

Did Harry Glassman get a windfall in his divorce settlement?

I actually do not know if I agree with the settlement in the divorce of Victoria Principal and Dr Victoria Principal and Harry GlassmanHarry Glassman. Together they had a combined networth of $50 million, which grew to about 4 or 5 times that amount during their marriage. While Glassman had a thriving practice, the bulk of the money was earned by Principal, through her acting career and skin care line. In their divorce settlement,  everything was split down the midldle. It has been said that Glassman got a windfall of $25 million.

While the goal is to divide the community property evenly, we should also look at the other legislative goals set forth in the case law and statutes. In an nut shell, the goal is to maintain the standard of living during marriage and to make sure that each party is self supporting within a certain period of time.

Another goal, that is not often discussed, is the legislative intent to make sure that parties to a divorce do not become dependent on public funds to survive, once they have been divorced. The days are now gone when one spouse could tell the other that s/he will leave the other spouse without a dime. That was one major motivation behind the enactment of community property laws.

In the case of Glassman and Principal, both are self supporting and capable of maintaining their same standard of living, after they split. From that perspective, an argument can be made that Glassman got a windfall, and that this situation does not fall within the purview of legislative intent to protect both parties to a divorce.

On a stricter reading of the case law and statutes, all income earned during marriage is community property. Thus, although Victoria earned more than Glassman, part of that money was his since it was earned during marriage. From that narrow persepctive, the judgment, which divided their net income in half, seems fair.