Presley Daughter Prevails in Spousal Support Row
Posted: Monday, August 20, 2018 – 1:04 PM
(CNS) – Lisa Marie Presley’s 2007 postnuptial agreement with her estranged husband that barred him from receiving spousal support if they divorced is valid, a judge ruled.
The ruling handed down Friday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman was a victory for the 50-year-old Presley and a defeat for the 57-year-old musician/producer Michael Lockwood.
“The court finds that the postnuptial agreement signed by the parties Nov. 28, 2007, is valid and enforceable in whole,” Gould-Saltman wrote in a seven-page ruling.
The only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court in June 2016 and the judge said she was skeptical of Lockwood’s claim he didn’t read the postnuptial agreement until well after Presley filed for divorce.
“The court finds (Lockwood’s) assertion that he only read the postnuptial agreement for the first time at his September 2017 deposition strains credibility,” Gould-Saltman wrote.
She also noted that Lockwood testified “over and over” that he decided not to read the agreement, but to sign it anyway.
The judge’s ruling follows a three-day trial of the issues before her last week. She took the case under submission Wednesday.
Attorney Gary Fishbein said in his final argument that Lockwood’s claims of being at a disadvantage when he twice signed the agreement should be rejected.
“Was this agreement unfair?,” attorney Gary Fishbein asked. “I think the evidence and the case law supports the fact that didn’t happen.”
But Lockwood’s lawyer, Jeff Sturman, said Presley had only one goal in mind when she brought up the issue of a postnuptial agreement less than a year after the couple married in Japan in 2006.
“She wanted to protect herself, that’s what her goal was,” Sturman said. “She was just out for herself.”
Lockwood, 57, maintained the agreement should be nullified because he did not understand what he was signing and because Presley did not have to give up anything in return for avoiding having to pay spousal support. He testified that he did not read the two versions of the postnuptial agreement Presley presented him in July and November 2007 before he signed them.
But Fishbein said Lockwood contradicted himself because he could not know if he was able to understand something unless he tried to read it first.
“He freely and voluntarily entered the agreement,” Fishbein said.
Fishbein said Lockwood’s admission he was not interested in a document that materially affected his marital relations “was in fact mind-boggling.”
Fishbein said it was Lockwood’s responsibility, not Presley’s, to peruse and comprehend the agreement for himself.
But Sturman said Lockwood was not bound by the agreement because contract law required that Presley give up something in exchange for its enforcement. In contrast, Lockwood forfeited plenty, Sturman said.
“He essentially gave up his connections in the music world so he would be available to her,” Sturman said. “He essentially gave up his career.”