California, Divorce Train Wrecks, Family Law, Weddings

Prominent Investor Gets ‘Screwed’ By Ex-Wife’s Lawyering Skills

Many women dream of having it all, but some find that it’s just not in the cards. That being said, sometimes when women lawyers get married and decide to start having children, they leave the law — but the law never leaves them. They’ll always hang on to that knowledge for safekeeping if the need ever arises.

Today, we’ve got a story out of California about how a former lawyer used her knowledge of the law to keep milking alimony and child support payments out of her ex-husband. She certainly figured out how to “have it all.”

Here’s a lesson for all of the men out there: just because your ex-wife wore a wedding dress does not mean she’s remarried in the eyes of the law….

Andrea Nicole Shomer and Andrew Edward Left were married in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Andrea got pregnant and decided to stop working, but according to their wedding announcement, this UCLA School of Law graduate (per the California Bar) once worked as a program attorney at ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television. After all, Andrea didn’t need to work anymore — her then-husband, Andrew Left, was a successful but controversial stock trader, as well as the founder of Citron Research, the trade commentary website.

Alas, there was not a happy ending for the couple, because they separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008. Andrea was engaged to be married to another man just six months later, but her ex must’ve been jumping for joy on his breaks from rolling around in money. Before the divorce was finalized, Andrew agreed to pay Andrea $32,547 in monthly spousal support and $14,590 in monthly child support. If Andrea got remarried, he wouldn’t have to keep shelling out almost $50,000 a month in support payments.

But as frequently occurs in divorce train wrecks, not everything was wrapped up in a pretty little bow by the time that Andrea was supposed to get remarried on May 2, 2009, and Andrea didn’t want to involve her soon-to-be husband in pending litigation. So, like any former lawyer would do, Andrea neglected to obtain an important legal document that would’ve sealed the deal. From the California Second District Court of Appeal’s opinion:

You can’t exactly be legally married if you don’t have a marriage license to speak of. Here’s a great summary of the proceedings, from Leigh Jones of the National Law Journal:

The appeals court said that no marriage had occurred during the May 2009 commitment ceremony — even though Andrea Left and her physician boyfriend Todd Katzman had become engaged, set a wedding date, informed the children’s school that they were getting married and registered at Bloomingdale’s. She wore a wedding dress during the ceremony, according to the decision, and had mailed wedding invitations to guests.

Even though she had a sham marriage ceremony, Andrea still got to wear her wedding dress, and she got to pull one over on her ex-husband — if that’s not the new killing it, then we don’t know what is. When reached for comment, Andrew had only this to say: “I got screwed. No one knew she wasn’t married. I feel wronged.”

See, ladies? You can have it all.

In re the Marriage of Andrea and Andrew Left [California Second District Court of Appeal]
Commitment Ceremony Won’t Stop Ex’s Checks [Courthouse News Service]
Appeals court rules that gown, invitations do not a wedding make [National Law Journal]

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