PayPal founder Elon Musk announced his divorce to actress Talulah Riley on the social media site Twitter. PayPal was created as a form of e-commerce, which would allow users to safely make purchases over the internet. Notably, in October of 2002, PayPal was purchased by the online shopping conglomerate eBay for a reported $1.5 billion. Musk and Riley met in 2008 and married in 2010. According to the Huffington Post, Musk proposed to Riley just a few weeks after filing for divorce from his first wife. Musk was with the first Ms. Riley for four years before they separated. The couple has two sons together.
The Musk-Riley divorce was final in July 2012, which puts the length of the marriage at approximately two years. Despite the short duration of their union, Riley reportedly walked away with $4.2 million. Although this amount may seem high, Musk’s entire fortune is approximately $680 million. Riley’s divorce settlement gave her 0.6% of Musk’s wealth. Additionally, there is no indication that Musk will pay any spousal support to Riley.
One advantage to the quick settlement of such a public divorce is that the parties are able to avoid dragging the divorce out in the public eye. However, many speculate that Riley could have received a larger amount had she battled Musk in court. Under California family law, Riley would have been entitled to her community property share of the community estate. Community property includes all earnings of both spouses. This means that she could have been awarded one-half of Musk’s earnings from the date of marriage to the date of separation. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, in addition to a $4.2 million pay out, Riley secured her Cartier watch, Gucci watch, various pieces of diamond jewelry and her Roadster.
Riley immediately received $500,000 and the rest of the agreed pay out is structured . After the divorce was finalized and the settlement was executed, Riley received an additional $900,000. Over the next nine years, Riley will receive the remainder of the settlement amount. Although this structured settlement may make payment easier for Musk, it keeps the ex-couple in each other’s lives. For the next nine years they will have an ongoing financial relationship. It is interesting that a man with a $680 million fortune chose to structure the payments of a mere $4.2 million in this way. Many family law cases involve child custody and visitation disputes. In these cases, the ex-spouses have little power to avoid an ongoing relationship because their children inextricably tie them together.
Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego County representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.