We know deciding to move forward with your divorce is the first step toward changing your future, but it’s also the beginning of a complex and sometimes stressful process. Below are a few examples of clients we’ve supported through their divorce.
Meet the Doctor
My client was a doctor from a family that had an extensive art collection. When he married his wife, they had a prenuptial agreement that gave his wife a reasonable property settlement in the event of a divorce, but not a share of the value of his medical practice.
He was worried because he was purchasing some expensive artwork during the marriage – Kandinsky and Picasso – that he had not thought to list as his separate property. We were able to arrange for the artwork to be purchased by his medical practice so that it might be exempt from the property he had to give to his wife upon divorce. In addition, we were able to mortgage the collection with an Investment Advisor to make it safe even from creditors.
But since he was generous to his wife in other ways, she did not contest the prenuptial agreement and they were able to work this out. I’ve seen the same strategy work with owners of fleets of gulf-streams and hotel chains. We have resources and experts in many disciplines. No case is too complicated. It can be done and we will find a way.
Meet Lisa and Steve
Lisa and Steve lived in the suburbs with their 9-year-old son. After she discovered her husband was doing cocaine and sleeping with the nanny, she asked him to leave. He moved out and stopped paying for the renovation to their house, which was under construction. This left a large hole in the roof, and every time it rained, the floor and the furniture in the house got wet.
One morning, when Lisa got into the car to drive her son to school, the car would not start. A quick check showed that it was out of gas, even though Lisa had filled the tank the night before. A review of the home security cameras showed her husband had siphoned the gas out, leaving her with no way to get their son to school! I was able to decide how to deal with this sociopathic spouse to get her the best results in her divorce agreement. It took an understanding of his pathology to make this happen.
Meet Susan and Harris
Susan and Harris were married with 2 young children. Susan was a high-powered hedge fund owner and managed the household finances. One day at work, Harris discovered that a lien had been placed on his modest salary by the IRS. He found out that the couple’s joint taxes had not been paid for the last three years, and the IRS had garnished his salary. It turned out that he had relied upon his wife to pay all the bills and taxes, but she had not paid the IRS or State for large sums of taxes owed for the past 3 years and had hidden this information from him. We had to investigate Susan’s finances and file an innocent spouse claim to get Harris off the hook for the unpaid tax bills and obtain his share of the assets she had hidden offshore. An abusive, paranoid spouse, gone wrong and discovered.
Meet Mark and Teresa
Mark was married to Teresa, a doctor. Mark was a stay at home Dad. They lived in a brownstone on Delancey Street in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, near her office. He began to notice that when he phoned his wife at her office, he was told that she was either “unavailable” or not in her office. When he asked her about this, she said she sometimes went to the yoga studio during the day. He started calling the studio when she was not in the office but was told she was not there for months. She also started giving Mark less and less money each week although she earned well over half a million dollars a year.
Mark spoke with his brother daily by phone, complaining about his wife’s increasingly abusive and strange behavior after she would go out with girlfriends and not come home until after 2 AM. One day when he was getting a new phone at the Apple Store, the Apple Store employee informed Mark that he had spyware installed on his cellphone and he realized that his wife had been recording all his conversations with his brother. She was using this information to gaslight him!
When he came to me with this story, I realized he was living with a sociopath. She was charming, sweet and generous at first, but once she got what she wanted she started to change her behavior. In representing him in a divorce we used every trick in the book to discover his wife’s true income, prove her cocaine habit and her dissipation of marital assets, convincing the Judge that he was entitled to a large amount of property. A good example of how understanding your spouse’s divorce personality can greatly improve the results of your divorce settlement.