Amid reports that his wife Elin Nordegren is consulting with a high-powered divorce attorney, Tiger Woods and his estimated net worth of $600 million – considered one of the biggest in professional sports, thanks in large part to sponsorship endorsements worth some $1 billion – is coming under scrutiny, should a divorce necessitate a need to divide his estate.
In addition to issues of custody involving the couple’s two children, Sam, 2, and Charlie, 10 months, experts in family law are saying that the factors involved would include the location of the divorce filing and what terms were specified in any prenuptial agreement.
Reports say that in this instance, such a marital contract was drawn up before Woods, 33, and Nordegren, 29, wed in Barbados in 2004.
“Prenups can be challenged, but usually the vulnerability of a prenup will be procedural,” such as whether the wife “didn’t have reasonably good information when she signed it,” University of Southern California family law professor Scott Altman tells the Los Angeles Times.
Woods’s Dec. 11 admission of marital infidelity would likely not affect the agreement, “unless the prenup says infidelity would set aside some of its terms,” says Altman. “In the absence of that, infidelity during the course of the marriage would not be relevant to the enforceability of a prenup.”
Florida’s Property Laws
As residents of Florida, Woods and Nordegren would not be subject to California’s 50-50 community property laws, though they did, in fact, live in the Western state earlier in their marriage.
Rather, Stanford University family law professor Richard Banks tells the Times, in Florida, which has separate property laws, “You have to divide the assets equitably, but that doesn’t necessarily mean equally,” he said. “In fact, the greater the pot of money, the less likely a court is to split it evenly.”
In Florida, Banks says, “whoever makes the money generally gets to keep it,” though the court may take into account that the spouse has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle – one that the richer spouse may be asked to help maintain.
Nordegren may make her final decision regarding her marriage sometime after the holidays, PEOPLE reports in its current issue.
Another Endorsement Lost?
In the wake of the scandal that may cost Woods his marriage, Woods on Friday faced the potential loss of another major endorsement deal, with the luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer. Gillette and the consulting firm Accenture have already backed away from continuing to use the golfer as their pitchman, while Nike has said it plans to maintain its relationship with him.
Saying that Tag Heuer was re-assessing its stance regarding Woods, after initially saying it would support him, the company’s CEO Jean-Christophe Babain is quoted as saying in the Swiss newspaper Le Matin: “We recognize Tiger Woods as a great sportsman, but we have to take into account the sensitivity of some consumer in relation to recent events.”