A Musician & a Supermodel; is separation abandonment

Ric Ocasek died on September 15 2019 aged 75 while recovering from heart surgery. An American singer-songwriter-musician and record producer born Richard Otcasek in Baltimore, he is best known for being a lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, songwriter, and frontman for the rock band the Cars.

Reportedly expelled from a catholic school in the fifth grade – Ric couldn’t remember why – his grandmother gave him his first guitar, following an obsession with the Crickets’ “That’ll Be the Day”. A rebellious teen, his family relocated to Cleveland where he decided to focus on school, after graduating, Ric enrolled in two Ohio colleges, Bowling Green and Antioch, but dropped out and started leading the peripatetic life of a musician before forming the Cars in 1976.

The Cars disbanded in 1988 with Ric releasing seven solo albums from 1982 through 2005, though none achieved the popularity of his Cars catalogue.

Ric’s first wife Constance divorced him in 1971, the same year he married his second wife Suzanne; they divorced in 1988. In 1984, Ric met the 18-year-old supermodel Paulina Porizkova on the set of a music video; they married in 1989 and separated in 2017 – although continued to share a house. Ric had two sons with each of his wives: Christopher (b.1964), Adam (b. 1970), Eron (b. 1973), Derek (b. 1981), Jonathan Raven (b. 1993), and Oliver (b. 1999).

It has been reported that Ric’s estranged third wife Paulina found him unconscious and unresponsive when she brought him his morning coffee. Ric had executed a new will a few weeks before he died, stating

“I have made no provision for my wife … as we are in the process of divorcing. Even if I should die before our divorce is final … Paulina is not entitled to any elective share … because she has abandoned me,”

New York law provides spouses with a right to elect to receive a share of the estate, even when they are disinherited. Porizkova would be entitled to one-third of all estate assets. However, where a spouse is found to have “abandoned” the person who died, they may not be entitled to any elective share.

A probate judge will decide if Paulina did “abandon” Ric. The New York Court of Appeals held that the spouse claiming abandonment must show in addition to “a mere departure from the marital abode and a consequent living separately” that the abandonment was unjustified and without the consent of the other spouse.

Ric’s estate reportedly consists of $5 million in copyrights and another $115,000 in personal property and cash. Paulina would be entitled to $1.7 million. However, there are likely to be assets held in trust, joint accounts with others, and insurance policies that are not considered to be part of the deceased estate.

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