In a decision that was issued August 31, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, has sent the well-publicized divorce of Charles and Linda Brandes, who separated in 2004, back to the trial court.
In 2005, the two agreed to a distribution of community property. Charles got homes in Rancho Santa Fe and Borrego Springs. Linda, to whom he had been married for 19 years, got six homes, including a penthouse on Park Avenue in New York, a beachside home in Del Mar, and a home in Rancho Santa Fe. At that time, the value of her real estate was $50 million, and her total estate was $100 million.
She was awarded $450,000 a month in spousal support — a bone of contention in the appellate court decision.
When they met in 1983 (it was a second marriage for each, and both had two children), she was making $6 an hour as a librarian and he was making $44,148 as a money manager. His firm had only $8.2 million under management. In June of 2004, the firm, Brandes Investment Partners, had $85 billion under management. He got rich and was listed in the Forbes' list of 400 richest Americans. (Now he is listed as worth $1.06 billion by Forbes — number 1605 on the billionaires list.)
As the Reader has tracked (Feb. 7, 2008; Jan. 20, 2009; Feb. 23, 2011; Dec. 7, 2011), the firm's money under management declined sharply as the firm made some bad investments — buying stocks of newspapers, banks, and others that got hit. The firm now has $26.4 billion under management, according to Forbes. However, the decline of Brandes Investment Partners is not part of the appellate decision. Charles has taken a third, much younger bride, with whom he has been prominent in San Diego social circles.
Both Charles and Linda are appealing the trial court's decision. Charles says the trial court erred by granting her $450,000 a month in spousal support. He says her share of community property is sufficient for her expenses of $100,000 per month. The appellate court sends that back to the trial court without ruling on it. The trial court "must revisit the spousal support issue," says the appellate court
At the time the trial court ordered this spousal support, Charles Brandes was raking in $5.6 million a month, according to the appellate court. He wanted her to sell her New York penthouse and Del Mar home to support her lifestyle.
The appellate court partially agrees with Linda on a matter regarding 6000 shares of Brandes Investment Partners. The appellate court says the trial court is "to conduct further proceedings" on that matter.