Christmas is an exciting time of year, one filled with love and laughter, but also quite a hectic time of year getting presents ready for family.
Finishing off jobs at work can cause emotions to rise and the stress that comes with it. So can you imagine what would happen in the event that your work involved not only ensuring that everything was done by the strict deadline of Christmas, but also fulfilling the wishes of billions of people around the world?
Recently we found out when we had our new client Mrs Claus come in to see us.
You see, Mr and Mrs Claus generally have a quiet and simple life during the year, but December is absolutely manic for them and finally, in 2018, something snapped for Mrs Claus and she’d decided she’d had enough!
Santa has been working triple-double overtime and Mrs Claus has not been able to see him. With Mrs Claus permission, we’ll talk you through the considerations that were taken into account when Mrs Claus sat down with us for family law advice.
Whilst everyone knows Santa has a naughty and nice list, his behavior in relation to his family law settlement makes me want to consider whether he actually sits on the naughty list himself.
As is often the case with a property settlement, exact values are not known and parties need to estimate them. For example, when you have a property and one of you want to keep it, you are never going to sell it just to find out the exact value. Accordingly, you will need to agree on a value. This is where things came a bit unstuck with Santa and Mrs Claus. You see, Santa believes his vast property empire at the North Pole and small subsidiaries in each shopping Centre throughout the world that he holds and owns in December each year are worth nothing. Mrs Claus obviously begs to differ. He is one of the largest landholders in the world. Santa’s property portfolio is vast and substantial. Accordingly, we have had to ask a Valuer to value the landholdings in the North Pole and associated areas. Now whilst it may not be prime farming land, or for many people, even considered to be habitable, it is actually home to thousands of elves and a number of reindeer. As such, it does provide substantial value. The same thing applies to Santa’s Toy Operation. Now whilst kids do not pay for the toys they receive, Santa does not do everything of his own accord. Out of complete goodwill, Santa is actually paid a licensing fee to create the toys and makes a healthy profit. He normally takes off for six months each year and goes to a little known Caribbean Island to relax with Mrs Claus.
Again, as is often the case, Santa believes that his business is worth nothing without him and that it is not a transferable business and therefore, the value of the business should be considered to be zero. With profits in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year and turn over in the billions of dollars, this is obviously not the case. Santa is running quite a substantial business. It unfortunately looks as though we will be going to Court on this one, but we contend that the Easter Bunny or Mickey Mouse would easily be able to fulfill the role of Santa, if Santa was to no longer at work.
In accordance with the Family Law Act, it will be essential for us to do the following to properly advise as to an appropriate %-split in any property settlement to Mrs Claus:
- Identify each of the assets and attribute a value to them by exchanging financial information and obtaining valuations where necessary;
- Assess both Mr & Mrs Claus’ contributions to their relationship, both at the commencement and throughout;
- Assess both Mr and Mrs Claus’ future needs, such as, whether Mrs Claus will have to look after the reindeer after they separate; and
- Assess whether the proposed split is just and equitable in light of their circumstances.
Often the financial aspects are difficult to resolve, but they get resolved at the end of the day and parties move on. What is a more pressing issue and one that needs to be managed and dealt with for a lot longer and continuously is who will look after the children of the relationship, where they live and how often each party gets to see them.
Now unfortunately Santa and Mrs Claus were unable to have children, but they do have their reindeer, which they treat as children. Those reindeer, named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, were vitally important to both Santa and Mrs Claus and this is where we hit a real stumbling block. You see Santa wanted them to be with him at all times, but realistically, he uses their services just once a year on Christmas Eve and whilst he had a rapport with them, did not spend a lot of time with them. Now, as you can appreciate, while Santa was so busy working, Mrs Claus had to find other things to do and she found comfort in the reindeers. Accordingly, she wanted them to spend all of their time with her. Now this argument could have gone on and on, however we suggested to both Mrs Claus and Santa that they were going to be parents not partners, in relation to the reindeer and that they would need to consider what is in the best interest of the reindeer. Now obviously the reindeer love both Santa and Mrs Claus and wanted a resolution to be reached where they could each see them. Fortunately, it looks like we will be able to arrange this and the reindeer might even be able to go on a trip to that Caribbean Island for a couple of months a year and relax.
In any event, I’ve told Mrs. Claus that before running off to Court about her time with the Reindeer, she’ll need to head off to mediation with Santa to try and reach an agreement.
With all this resolved by Southern Waters Legal in the great Christmas rush that exists around family law and Christmas, Christmas can continue for 2018. Whist at this stage it is only a trial separation and we are hopeful that Santa can obtain a healthier work/life balance and Mrs Claus can recognise the need and desire for Santa at that particular month of the year. The resolution we have reached means that everyone can have a very merry, Merry Christmas.