This Monday I logged on to AOL.com to check my e-mail when I was startled by one of the home page top stories. The title read: MJ’s (Michael Jordan) $168 Million Divorce. According to AOL.com and Timesonline.com, Michael Jordan forfeited a record-setting $168 million of his personal fortune to his ex-wife in their divorce settlement. This is a prime example of why I believe prenuptial agreements are a must.
Most of the details of the divorce aren’t being made public for the sake of the children, but many people think that Juanita Jordan left her career to stay at home with the children while Michael traveled the world making a living for the family.
To be fair to Juanita, if she did in fact leave her career behind to become a housewife, then she should absolutely be compensated for her work. The only question is how much compensation is fair?
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and asking some of my friends and family questions about the matter. One thing that I have determined through this brief research is that men and women are divided on the issue.
From the majority of men’s comments I’ve come across on blogs and in conversation, I think it’s safe to say that Michael Jordan’s wife did not help him earn the fame that brought him his fortune. Men feel that the income was produced almost exclusively from him. The two married in 1989. In 1989, Michael Jordan had already become the face of the NBA and many of his endorsements were already in place and have been in place over the last 18 years. It was all a matter of the money maturing as his achievements on the basketball court reached higher levels. The rumors that Jordan’s wife may have been his business manager are irrelevant because none of that money could have been made if not for his talent on the basketball court.
Many men writing on blogs and talking have labeled her as a gold digger. This is a notion I believe is unfair because, according to Timesonline.com, she could have claimed half of the worth that he has earned since they married because of their post-nuptial agreement. Instead, she only claimed just over a third.
Most of the women I surveyed thought the complete opposite. They believe that she deserves half of his money and that you can’t put a price on a good housewife. She carried and raised his children and she should be entitled to live the same life that she has been living for the past 17 years prior to the divorce.
I agree that she does deserve enough money in order to live comfortably for the rest of her life.
Still, I don’t buy the sob stories about how we should feel sorry for her for getting $168 million and not $200 million, as if she brought Michael Jordan from being nothing to something and as if she was raising these kids in the projects of Chicago, with no support from a husband who was a rolling stone.
I don’t want to seem like I’m being hard on women about this issue. There are some men who have made off with outrageous sums of money by marrying rich women and they didn’t stick around half of the time that Juanita Jordan stayed with Michael. Cris Judd made off with $14 million after his eight-month marriage to Jennifer Lopez. No one knows yet how much Kevin Federline will net after his two-year marriage to Britney Spears.
Ironclad prenuptial agreements are the only way to eliminate gold diggers and inspire the less-fortunate parties to take a more assertive role in pursuing their own professional endeavors.
Ryan Watson is a graduate student in mass communications.