Tigergate Full Throttle continues to blow up. One report even dubbed the situation a “triple bogey” given that a third woman has come out to say she had a fling with Tiger. Several things are apparent with this scandal not the least of which is that Tiger seems to have set his bar very low when picking his women. Nowhere is there the expected Ivy League brainy hottie one might expect from a guy like this. Each has been captured in photographs scantily attired, clearly partying, and with a resume and bio that at best, is embarrassing. Surely he could have found a more ambitious type of woman to risk his entire career on? A cocktail waitress? An events planner? Model wannabes? Half naked party girls? At least he didn’t go as far as Eliot Spitzer and pay prostitutes. But still, is he serious with these picks? Perhaps not. According to ABC News:
In the wake last week’s mysterious car crash and rumors that Woods engaged in extramarital affairs, the golf champ issued a statement today apologizing for “transgressions” and for not being “true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”
The question posed now is whether he jeopardized his endorsement deals with this disappointing behavior that his “family doesn’t deserve”, and whether, if such jeopardy occurred, whether said jeopardy was tantamount to a “dissipation of marital assets.” And if so, what if anything is Elin due because of that?
These are the the big questions. The first step if to figure out what are “marital assets” and then to figure out what “dissipate marital assets” mean. After that, we figure out what endorsement deals Tiger currently has and finally where the whole thing leaves his spouse, Ms. Elin Nordegren.
In the State of Florida where the Woods live and are residents and domiciliaries, “marital assets” refer to any thing that is acquired during the course of the marriage and prior to the filing of summons and complaint in a divorce action. If he married Elin on January 1, 2004 at 10:00 a.m., hypothetically speaking, then anything he acquired from January 1, 2004 at 10:01 is marital property. And it belongs to him and Elin.
Marital property is essentially anything at all a married couple owns and/or acquires during a marriage, whether tangible or intangible. Cash, Stocks, stock options, bonuses, bonds, trademarks, patents, copyrights, real estate, businesses, educational degrees, jewelry, furs, artwork, planes, cars, coin collections, pets, furniture, pensions, IRA’s, endorsement deals, entertainment/sports contracts, everything you can possibly think of. If it is acquired or accrued during the marriage, it’s marital property. So yes, his endorsement deals which were inked during his marriage to Elin are marital property and belongs to them both – although, not necessarily 50-50.
WHAT DOES DISSIPATE MARITAL ASSETS MEAN? To dissipate marital assets basically means to waste marital assets. Again, assets can be tangible or intangible. Can Tiger’s extramarital affairs be considered a waste of marital assets? Yes. “Any loss in the value of marital asset can constitute dissipation if the loss was wrongfully caused by the actions of a spouse.” In the context of divorce, “dissipation of assets includes concealment and conveyance of assets as well as their wasting through acts that are reckless and negligent and not necessarily intentional.” Could it be argued that by having these extra marital affairs Tiger’s acts were “reckless and negligent” in that it could have caused his sponsors to pull away their contracts? Absolutely. It just so happens that they are all standing by him, for now. But if this story continues to snowball, there is no telling what could happen and so he could lose some deals and could lower the value of others in terms of his negotiating possibilities after the fact. Elin, as a stakeholder in his endorsement deals, has a right to be concerned.
WHAT ENDORSEMENTS DO TIGER CURRENTLY OWN? Well, it appears he owns quite a few lucrative endorsement contracts with several major fortune 500 companies and other global brands and entities. To wit: Gillette, Tag Huer, Buick (maybe), AT&T, Nike, Electronics Arts, Gatorade, and others. Says the New York Daily News:
WHAT CAN ELIN DO NOW?
Reports are swirling that Tiger has already re-written portions of the prenup he has with Elin to give her more money and to transfer a seven figure sum into her bank account in order to pacify her and stop her from seeking a divorce. Whether Tiger’s attempt at damage control make financial sense for him at this point is debatable. Surely, if the parties had a prenuptial agreement, even assuming a “dissipation” has occurred, so long as Elin gets what was contracted and stipulated in that agreement, legally any dissipation by Tiger is pretty much irrelevant and Elin is not entitled to anything more than she is due if the prenup is otherwise valid and enforceable.