Rock legend Randy Bachman thought he was “taking care of business” when he and his wife, Denise Beck Bachman opted out of their divorce trial and agreed to settle their financial issues amicably last January. A smart move….however, sometimes in family law, one party thinks they’ve got a deal, while the other disagrees.
That’s exactly what brought the Bachman’s into Supreme Court recently.
The couple married in 1982 and became step-parents of each other’s children from previous marriages. Randy had six children with his first wife, while Denise had one son. Together they brought their own child into the world and remained a couple until their separation in 2011.
Their alleged settlement provided Denise with 27.5% of his annual song royalties of $1.4 million a year, amounting to approximately $32,000 a month in spousal support. As part of Denise’s financial package she was to acquire one-half of a residence in London, England upon Randy’s death.
However, she later learned that the property had been transferred to a trust and she claimed the beneficiaries were Randy’s six children and not her.
Meanwhile, while Mr. Bachman argued that a full agreement had been reached, he did not pay Denise her $32,000 monthly support but instead had paid her $3,000 a month.
Denise advised Chief Justice Hinkson that no final agreement had been reached because her husband had not agreed to provide “security” for the payments she was to receive. Security can be in many forms including the granting of a mortgage, a sum of money held in trust, or a letter of credit.
The purpose of security is that if the payor refuses or cannot pay the sums owed, the security can be used to make the required payments.
Denise’s argument prevailed. The judge ordered that if security was an integral part of the agreement and it had not been agreed by the parties, then the agreement was not complete. CJ Hinkson also said it was not the Court’s responsibility to fill in the details of an otherwise incomplete agreement. The judge also ordered Mr. Bachman to pay his wife $32,000 a month pending a final settlement or judgment.
So, the Bachman’s are back where they started. They can either negotiate a new settlement of the financial issues or book a trial and have a judge decide the issues. Or if they were really smart they would hire a family law arbitrator to resolve all matters and thus avoid the cost, delay, and publicity of a trial.
The public unravelling of a rock and roll marriage would undoubtedly generate a media frenzy!
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang