Professional athletes are just as likely to get divorced as the average couple, but the situation is often more complex. In addition to a yearly salary, many athletes receive income from commercials, sponsorships or endorsements.
In some cases, athletes receive contracts that extend several years into the future. This can make it difficult for a spouse to receive a fair settlement.
The importance of a contract
Professional athletes are at the mercy of their health and performance, and in many cases, their contracts reflect the potential brevity of their careers. Many contracts do not include full guarantees of a specific salary but provide an expectation of a future income. There are also many provisions for termination often including underperformance or misconduct.
Since these contracts do not have a clear guarantee of payment, many times they will not count as marital property. This can make the divisions of funds more complex, especially if the spouse is looking to capitalize on future earnings.
The arguments about property
For professional athletes, two common arguments arise with the division of assets. If there is a contract with a guarantee of income that became valid during the marriage, there is a likelihood of a ruling as marital property. This is much like the spouses having a deed to a house. Arguments for separate property occur when there are stipulations on future income, and although not a guarantee, the court may keep these from division.
These are some of the concerns regarding a professional athlete’s income during a divorce. However, the court looks at each situation individually.