A Survey of Divorce Cases Where
the Marital Estate Exceeded $3 Million
Laura W. Morgan
Goodman v. Goodman, 797 So. 2d 1282 (Fla. DCA 2001):
A second marriage. The husband inherited $3.1 million
from his parents during the marriage. The husband appeals
from a final judgment of dissolution of marriage, challenging
the trial courts award of alimony on three grounds.
First, he claims that the award effectively requires him
to spend the principal of his non-marital inheritance to
provide alimony at the level ordered by the court. Second,
he contends that the alimony award was excessive in light
of the parties standard of living throughout most
of the marriage. Third, he objects to the courts failure
to impute income to the wife. Because each of these is within
the discretion of the trial court, and there is both evidence
and reason to support the courts award, [the appeals
Warner v. Warner, 46 S.W.2d 591 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001):
The couple married in 1977, separated in February, 1997,
and the final decree of divorce was granted December 31,
1998. During the separation, but before the final decree,
the husband relocated to NYC and had taken a job with AOL,
where he acquired stock options worth several million dollars.
The wife was granted one-half of all the stock options acquired
during the marriage. The appeals court affirmed.
Bauer v. Bauer, 38 S.W.2d 449 (Mo. Ct. app. 2001):
The couple were married on May 1, 1980. During the marriage
the husband worked at the family construction and property
management business. The wife was primarily a homemaker,
but worked out of the home on a limited basis. She also
assisted in the operation of the family business. The couples
assets at the time of the divorce totaled over $5 million.
The husband worked long hours, and the wife began to abuse
drugs, particularly methamphetamines. The husband filed
The appellant raised four points on appeal. In Point I,
he claimed in five subpoints that the trial court erred
in awarding the respondent primary physical custody of three
of the parties four minor children because it was
against the weight of the evidence, not supported
by substantial credible evidence, contrary to law, and an
abuse of discretion. In Point II, he claimed that
the trial court erred in awarding the respondent $10,000
of the $32,000 in attorneys fees she incurred because,
in doing so, it failed to consider, as required, the respondents
financial resources to pay her own attorneys fees,
and her conduct during the marriage and the dissolution
proceeding. In Point III, he claimed that the trial court
erred in awarding him his non-marital property, as required
by section 452.330, because in doing so it misapplied the
law found in that section, and its award was against the
weight of the evidence. In Point IV, he claimed that the
trial court erred in awarding him his marital property,
as required by section 452.330, because in doing so it misapplied
the law found in that section, and its award was against
the weight of the evidence.
The appeals court agreed with the husband as to Point
I, but disagreed as to the other three points. The judgment
was affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part.
Dematteo v. Dematteo, 436 Mass. 18, 762 N.E.2d 797 (2002):
The husband and the wife were married on March 23, 1990
on condition that the wife sign an antenuptial agreement.
She agreed. At the time the husband was forty-seven years
old, and the wife was forty-one years old. This was a first
marriage for the husband and a second marriage for the wife.
The wife was a secretary at the time of the marriage, earning
$25,000 per year, with no assets, while the husband owned
a construction company. His net worth was between $83 million
and $108 million. The antenuptial agreement provided that
the wife would receive the marital home free of encumbrance,
yearly support of $35,000 until her death or remarriage
with an annual cost-of-living increase, an automobile, and
medical insurance until her death or remarriage. All property
jointly acquired during the marriage would be divided between
the parties in equal shares.
The husband filed for divorce in 1998, citing irretrievable
breakdown and seeking enforcement of the agreement. The
wife objected, stating that the agreement was neither fair
nor reasonable, claiming to be incapacitated at the time
of the execution of the agreement. The trial judge disagreed;
the wife appealed. The judge in the Family and Probate Court
agreed, stating that the agreement was unenforceable. The
SJC disagreed, found the agreement to be valid at execution,
and both fair and reasonable.
Sahin v. Sahin, 435 Mass. 396, 758 N.E.2d 132 (2001):
The couple were married for 28 years. The wife filed for
divorce in 1994. The wife filed a complaint against the
husband, seeking relief from a prior divorce judgment. She
alleged that fraud perpetrated by the husband had resulted
in a divorce judgment that was manifestly unconscionable.
A Probate and Family Court judge granted the husbands
motion for summary judgment and dismissed the wifes
complaint. The SJC granted the wifes application and
affirmed the judgment of the Probate and Family Court.
The wife claimed that the husband severely undervalued
his business, which had been acquired by Lucent for 12.88
million shares of Lucent stock, which was worth at the time
$1.48 billion. The court found no fraud.
In re Marriage of Grim, 107 Wash. App. 1060, 2001 WL 959923
The couple were married for 36 years. The husband was
a successful orthodontist; the wife did not work outside
the home. The couples community and separate property
totaled $4.7 million. The couple separated in 1998. In October
1999, the trial court entered a decree of dissolution that
awarded $2,407,977.19, or 51 percent of the assets, to the
wife and $2,310,187.30, or 49 percent of the assets, to
the husband. The trial court characterized as community
property all the couples assets that they owned as
of the date of separation.
The wife appealed the property distribution, denial of
maintenance, and denial of request for payment of attorney
fees. Specifically, the wife claimed that the court erred
in placing a 10% discount on the value of the orthodontic
practice, which the court did by considering the husbands
age, health, past earning power, reputation in the community,
and professional success. The court of appeals disagreed
with the wifes contentions.
Skokos v. Skokos, 347 Ark. 485, 65 S.W.3d 432 (2001):
The couple were married in 1967. They separated and were
divorced in 1993. During the marriage the couple had financial
interests in two cellular phone companies. The dispute arises
as to the value of the two companies. The wifes expert
witnesses offered appraisals ranging from $5.68 million
to $9.86 million for one company, and from $5.56 million
to roughly $10 million for the other company. The husbands
experts, on the other hand, appraised the companies at values
ranging from $2.91 million to $3.1 million for the second
company, and $2.89 million to $2.94 million for the first.
The judge hewed closer to the husbands argument.
The wife appealed, saying that the companies had been
undervalued. The supreme court disagreed.
Flechas v. Flechas, 791 So. 2d 295 (Miss. 2001):
The husband and the wife were married in June 1991 and
were granted a divorce in October 1997 due to irreconcilable
differences. In the judgment of divorce, the chancellor
ruled that no assets were acquired by either party during
the marriage raising no need for equitable distribution.
The chancellor also awarded the wife $18,000 in lump sum
alimony and $750 per month for one year in rehabilitative
alimony. The wife appealed, claiming error in failing to
divide any assets acquired during the marriage.
Prior to the marriage, the wife had been a schoolteacher,
but she discontinued working outside the home after the
marriage. The husband was the sole owner of a shipyard company
and also substantial interest in three other companies.
His assets were valued at $6.4 million at the time of the
The court of appeals agreed with the wife, stating that
a substantial portion of the assets acquired during the
marriage should have been classified as marital.
McCulloh v. Drake, 24 P.3d 1162 (Wyo. 2001):
The couple were married for three and a half years. During
the marriage the husbands net worth increased from
$3.9 million to $4.9 million, primarily due to additional
inheritance (from which he had received most of his net
worth). The wife claimed error in that the trial court had
not divided the property equitably. The husband claims that
the trial court was fair, and that the wife should not receive
any property that he brought into the marriage or inherited
during the marriage. The supreme court agreed with the husband,
finding that the wife had failed to prove that the trial
court had abused its discretion.
Avery v. Avery, 2001 WL 775604 (Tenn. Ct. App. July 11, 2001):
In this divorce case ending a 25 year marriage,
the trial court classified a bequest made solely to the
husband as marital property under an implied partnership
theory and divided the bequest equally. The parties
other property was divided, and the wife was awarded alimony
in futuro. The husband appeals the classification and division
of property and the award of alimony in futuro. We reverse
the trial courts classification of the bequest as
marital property and classify the original bequest as Husbands
separate property. We find the increase in value of that
separate property to be marital because of the parties
contribution to its maintenance and increase. We modify
the award of marital property accordingly, modify the alimony
award, and decline to award Wife attorney fees on appeal.
The total estate was approx. $3.95 million.
Lewis v. Frances, 2001 WL 219662 (Tenn. Ct. App. March 7,
Husband appeals from the trial courts decisions
classifying, valuing, and dividing the parties property
incident to their divorce and asserts that he is entitled
to an award much greater than the $250,000 granted to him
by the trial court. Wife also appeals the trial courts
classification and distribution of property, asserting that
Husband was not entitled to any portion of her separate
property and that there was no marital property.
The wife was a partner in a successful management company
for the recording industry. The premarital value of the
wifes separate assets was almost fifty times greater
than the value of the husbands premarital assets.
During the marriage, both parties maintained separate checking
and investment accounts, filed separate tax returns, and
never held any property jointly.
The husband asserted that the value of the marital estate
should be $7.1 million, primarily from the wifes assets.
The wife claimed that none of her assets should be considered
marital property. The trial court found that the marital
estate was the increase in the wifes net worth during
the marriage, or approx. $1.4 million. The court of appeals
stated that the husband should receive none of the wifes
separate property, and that the trial court erred in its
valuation of the marital estate. The husband should not
receive any property from the marriage.
Blue v. Blue,60 S.W.3d 585 (Ky. Ct. App. 2001):
By orders entered October 25, 1999, and November
10, 1999, the Jefferson Family Court upheld a premarital
property agreement between David Blue and Pamela Blue. The
trial court erred, Pamela contends, by failing to recognize
that a large increase in the value of the property has rendered
the agreement unconscionably favorable to David and hence
unenforceable. Pamela further asserts that the trial court
evaluated the agreement according to an incorrect standard
of validity and failed to demand from David a sufficiently
detailed statement of his holdings and net worth. Although
we agree with Pamela that the trial courts scrutiny
of the agreement seems to have been unduly limited, we are
persuaded that the error was harmless. Accordingly, we affirm.
The husband was president of a scrap metal company, with
a net worth of over $5 million. The wifes estate was
valued at $190,000.
Long v. Long, No. 2000702 (Ala. Civ. App. Dec. 21, 2001)
The wife filed a postjudgment motion, arguing that
the trial courts division of the parties marital
estate, which was valued at over five million dollars, was
inequitable. The husband filed a postjudgment motion, arguing,
among other things, that the trial court had abused its
discretion in awarding the wife over $2 million in marital
assets and ordering him to pay $4,250 per month in periodic
alimony. After hearing oral arguments, the trial court,
on February 21, 2001, denied both postjudgment motions.
The wife appeals, and the husband cross-appeals.
The wife argues, in part, that the trial court erred
in awarding the husband 70% of the parties marital assets,
which, she says, were accumulated during their 25-year marriage.
She asserts that the trial court failed to consider the
value of the husbands stock in his company, Long Electronics,
when it divided the marital assets. The husband argues that
the trial court abused its discretion in awarding the wife
a substantial portion of the marital assets, in ordering
him to pay periodic alimony, and in awarding the wife what
he says was an excessive attorney fee.
The court of civil appeals affirmed the judgment of the
Lowes v. Lowes, No. C6-01-146 (Minn. Ct. App. August 14,
After appellant Robert D. Lowes ceased paying spousal
maintenance, respondent Victoria S. Lowes moved for arrearages
she claimed were due under the terms of the parties
stipulated dissolution judgment. The district court examined
the terms of the parties 1992 stipulation and determined
that it required appellant to pay spousal maintenance as
long as his cash compensation exceeded $400,000
per year. The district court further concluded that because
a $2.1 million lump sum payment that appellant received
in July 1999 represented two years of salary,
it qualified as cash compensation for 1999, 2000, and 2001.
The district court thus ordered appellant to pay respondent
$109,505 in past-due maintenance.
Appellant thereafter moved for amended findings
or alternatively for a new trial. Respondent opposed
the motion, arguing that it was an improper motion for reconsideration,
and sought attorney fees under Minn. Stat. §§ 518.14, subd.
1 (2000). The district court issued a second order denying
appellants motion in its entirety and awarding respondent
$1,500 in conduct-based attorney fees.
Because the stipulation unambiguously requires appellant
to pay spousal maintenance when his cash compensation exceeds
$400,000 per year and because the district court did not
err in finding that the $2.1 million falls within the definition
of cash compensation, we affirm. We also affirm the award
of $1,500 in conduct-based attorney fees as within the district
Gilfillin v. Gilfillin, 344 S.C. 407, 544 S.E.2d 829 (2001):
James Gilfillin (Husband) was granted
a divorce from his wife Melanie Gilfillin (Wife).
Part of the family courts order required Husband to
establish a $300,000 alimony trust to secure periodic alimony
payments to Wife in the event he predeceased her. Husband
appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed, but also modified
the order so that Husband could meet his obligation by securing
Husband and Wife were married for over fourteen
years and had one child. During the marriage, Husband worked
for his familys insurance business while Wife primarily
stayed at home and raised their son. Wife worked only occasionally
as a substitute schoolteacher. Two years prior to their
separation, Husband inherited a stock portfolio worth over
$4.8 million and began taking steps to retire. Husband was
58 years old at the time of the divorce and Wife was 46
Under their equitable distribution settlement, Wife
received marital assets valued at $121,395, including the
marital home. Husband received $28,678 in marital assets
and each party retained their respective non-marital assets.
Among the non-marital assets Husband retained was his valuable
The supreme court held that the family court did not have
the authority to establish the alimony trust, and so reversed.
In re Marriage of Watson, 22 P.3d 1081 (Kan. Ct. App. 2001):
In this post-divorce proceeding, L.T. Watson (petitioner)
appeals the district courts interpretation of the
separation agreement entered into by petitioner and her
husband, T.S. Watson (respondent), during the pendency of
their divorce. The court found the parties agreement
as incorporated in the final decree was unambiguous and
contemplated that the responsibility for any capital gains
tax liability generated by the sale of certain stock in
Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., [which had increased the parties
net worth by several million dollars] would be shared equally
by the parties.... We affirm the trial courts decision,
although our analysis differs.
Templeton v. Templeton, 2001 WL 1173340 (Ohio Ct. App. October
The husband and the wife were divorced after twenty-five
years of marriage in 1988. They owned substantial marital
assets. The court divided their assets between the parties
equally. The court also awarded the wife spousal support
in the amount of $5,000 per month.
The husband was a doctor, with an income of $460,000.
The wife has a substantial income from the assets
she was awarded in the divorce, which are now worth 2.7
million dollars. Ruths adjusted gross income in 1999
was $333,783. Of that, $42,187 was dividend income, $60,542
was from spousal that Gilbert paid, $7,572 was from interest
and miscellaneous receipts, and $225,482 was from capital
gains on her investments.
The husband moved to have his spousal support obligation
terminated or modified, citing the wifes net worth.
The court of appeals remanded for further consideration
of the wifes assets.
Shaban v. Shaban, 88 Cal. App.4th 398, 105 Cal. Rptr.2d 863
Here, a couple who married in Egypt in 1974 had
their marriage dissolved after living in the United States
for about 17 years. In the course of the proceedings, the
husband asserted that the couple had a written prenuptial
agreement. The document that he claimed was the prenuptial
agreement was a one-page piece of paper written in Arabic
and signed by him and his future father-in-law at the time
of the wedding. (The bride did not sign it; her father signed
it as her representative.) The record contains
three English translations of the document, and, with the
exception of the recitation of a dowry arrangement, none
of the translations sets forth any substantive matter. At
trial, the husband attempted to introduce parol evidence
in the form of an expert witness who was prepared to testify
that certain language in the document signified an intention
on the part of the husband and wife to have their marriage,
including property relations at the time of any divorce,
governed by Islamic law. The trial judge refused
to allow the expert to testify, held there was no prenuptial
agreement (he found the document was really a marriage certificate),
and proceeded to apply California community property law
to the earnings and acquisitions of the parties.
We affirm the property division set forth in the
judgment. It is not that a document in a foreign language
is not a fit subject for parol evidence. It obviously is.
... We affirm because the requirement that prenuptial agreements
be in writing under California law is a statute of frauds
provision, and to satisfy the statute of frauds, a writing
must state with reasonable certainty what the terms and
conditions of the contract are. An agreement whose only
substantive term in any language is that the marriage has
been made in accordance with Islamic law is
hopelessly uncertain as to its terms and conditions. Had
the trial judge allowed the expert to testify, the expert
in effect would have written a contract for the parties.
The marital estate was worth some $3 million.
Chambers v. Chambers, No. 2000011 (Ala. Civ. App. 12/21/2001)
The divorce judgment contained a property division
awarding the wife, among other things, the marital home
(which had been appraised at $195,000 in 1999), all of the
personal property in the marital home at the time of the
divorce, three automobiles, and $160,179 as alimony in gross
(which the divorce judgment stated constituted one-half
of the proceeds of a joint Merrill Lynch account, one-half
of the funds in a SouthTrust Bank checking account in the
husbands name only, and one-half of a certificate
of deposit at SouthTrust Bank in the husbands name
only (the CD)). The husband was awarded, among
other things, a 1,040-acre farm, livestock (which included
approximately 25 horses), and farm equipment; a car and
a truck; his Prudential annuity (which was his retirement
benefit from Eastern Airlines); one-half of the joint Merrill
Lynch account; one-half of the certificate of deposit at
SouthTrust Bank; and one-half of the SouthTrust checking
account. The divorce judgment also awarded the husband his
individual retirement account at Merrill Lynch (Merrill
Lynch IRA) and specifically divested the wife of any
interest in that IRA. The husband was ordered to continue
paying to Merrill Lynch Credit the amount of the monthly
mortgage-debt payment on the marital home (i.e., $816.67
per month) as an incident of support and periodic alimony.
The husband appeals, arguing that the CD was an
individual retirement account and was his separate property
so that it should not have been subject to division; that
the CD no longer existed at the time of trial because, he
says, it had been rolled over into his Merrill Lynch IRA;
and that the trial court had inadvertently awarded some
of his personal items to the wife. The wife cross-appeals,
arguing that she received an inequitable share in the division
of the marital property and that she should have been awarded
The court of appeals held [b]ecause the evidence
does not support the trial courts finding that a CD
existed at the time of the divorce, and the divorce judgment
specifically divested the wife of any interest in the husbands
Merrill Lynch IRA, the investment vehicle to which the CD
proceeds have been transferred, we must conclude that those
portions of the divorce judgment addressing the division
of marital property are inconsistent and ambiguous, and
are therefore palpably wrong. We also reverse
the judgment as to the alimony issue, so that the trial
court will, on remand, have before it all matters concerning
payments between the parties.
Korthoff v. Korthoff, No. W2001-01712-COA-R10-CV (Tenn. Ct.
App. September 24, 2001) (unreported):
In this pending divorce action, the trial court
ordered Husband to transfer $300,000.00 to Wife as a partial
distribution of the marital estate. Husband filed an application
for extraordinary appeal pursuant to Rule 10 Tenn. R. App.
P. which this Court granted. Husband contends that the trial
court is without authority to make a partial distribution
of marital funds during the pendency of the divorce action....
Furthermore, if the court had such authority, it could not
do so absent an evidentiary hearing to determine whether
the property was marital or separate. The application was
granted and the order of the trial court reversed.
[The husband had moved to South Africa and had transferred
$27 million out of the country, according to the wife.]
Colonna v. Colonna, 2001 Pa. Super. 376, 788 A.2d 430 (2001):
The couple executed an antenuptial agreement in 1983 and
divorced in 2000. The trial court found the agreement enforceable
and ordered a division of the marital property according
to the agreement. The husband argued that the agreement
overvalued his business at the time of the divorce. The
agreement stated that the value of the business was $6 million,
but the husband claimed that this represented only the average
of a low of $2 million and a high of $13 million. The wife
claimed that this overvaluation renders the entire agreement
unenforceable. The court found that the valuation was reasonable
and had full and fair disclosure. It found no harm and no
Hasselbalch v. Hasselbalch, 2002 WL 188826 (Tex. Ct. App.
February 7, 2002):
The appellant, Constance G. Hasselbalch, appeals
from the decree granting her a divorce from the appellee,
Michael Hasselbalch. Constance raises several issues on
appeal, contesting the trial courts procedural rulings
and evidentiary findings, following a bench trial. Specifically,
Constance contends the trial court erred in: (1) denying
her motion for continuance; (2) quashing her trial subpoena
of an attorney for another party; (3) excluding the testimony
of her expert witness; (4) admitting the testimony of two
of Michaels expert witnesses; (5) limiting her redirect
examination of a fact witness; (6) finding that she did
not seek enforcement of a corporate shareholder agreement;
(7) awarding certain separate property to Michael; (8) finding
the evidence insufficient to establish the existence of
an inheritance [of $10 million] to Michael; (9) awarding
her attorneys fees of only $22,000; (10) making an
implicit finding that no delayed limited partnership distributions
existed; (11) finding that Michael had not given away 17%
of his ownership in a closely held corporation; and (12)
finding the community estate had no ownership in a company
known as Lambert International, Ltd.... We affirm.
Schottenstein v. Schottenstein, 2001 WL 1651938 (Ohio Ct.
App. November 29, 2001):
We find no abuse of discretion or error of law with
respect to the division of marital property. The primary
issue regarding division of property dealt with a possible
division of stock in M/I Homes which appreciated over $10
million in value during the term of the marriage. The trial
court adequately and accurately set forth its analysis of
the issue and its rationale underlying its determination
why this stock was not marital property. As we concur with
the trial courts rulings as to these issues, we do
not feel compelled to restate the same analysis here.
Thomas v. Thomas, 2001 WL 422967 (Ohio Ct. App. April 26,
On September 25, 1995, the court commenced a contested
trial, during which the parties litigated the issues of
property division and spousal support. In a judgment entry
and decree of divorce filed on June 28, 1996, the trial
court granted both parties a divorce, awarded the plaintiff
liquid assets valued at $1,580,048.50, awarded defendant
liquid assets valued at $1,223,030.50, and ordered plaintiff
to pay the defendant $10,000 per month in permanent spousal
support. The court also separately awarded the defendant
the sum of $622,816.50 to be disbursed from the plaintiffs
pension and profit sharing plan. While the trial courts
judgment and decree was not appealed by the defendant, plaintiff
filed a timely notice of appeal on July 26, 1996.
In an opinion released on May 13, 1997, this court
sustained two of the plaintiffs assignments of error,
finding: A review of the trial courts decision demonstrates
that the trial court failed to address the fact that [the
defendant] was awarded a significant property settlement
of approximately 1.2 million dollars. Clearly, a significant
percentage of this property settlement was liquid assets
which were available to [the defendant], and upon which
investment income was available and expected.
McMahon v. McMahon, 187 Misc.2d 364, 722 N.Y.S.2d 723 (2001):
The gravamen of the dispute between the parties,
on these motions, is whether the commencement date of a
prior action of divorce should be utilized in determining
whether property is marital or separate
for equitable distribution purposes. The resolution of this
dispute is crucial because after the commencement of the
first action for divorce, but before the commencement of
the second action for divorce, husband received a substantial
financial benefit from his employment in connection with
an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The IPO benefits are worth
some 30 million dollars. If the commencement date of the
first action for divorce is the proper date for determining
marital assets then, by statute, the IPO is husbands
separate property. If, however, the court utilizes the commencement
date of this action, then the IPO benefits are, by statutory
definition, marital property.
The supreme court held that the commencement date of the
first action was not appropriate, and thus the IPO benefits
were marital property.
Ex parte Durbin, 2001 WL 1392684 (Ala. September 7, 2001):
The couple married in 1982, separated in 1997, and divorced
in 1999. The wife did not work outside the home. The husband
was the chief executive officer and 80% majority shareholder
of Marshall Durbin Food Corporation. In the division of
marital property the husband was awarded approx. 80% of
the marital estate, or $9 million, while the wife received
approx. 20% of the marital estate, or $2 million. The court
had awarded the wife half of a particular stock that had
been acquired during the marriage and did not consider the
stock that had been acquired before the marriage. The court
of civil appeals reversed and instructed the trial court
to consider all of the stock as marital property when it
reconsidered its division of the marital property. The supreme
court reversed the court of civil appeals, holding the court
should not consider all the stock as marital property.
Erickson v. Erickson, 2001 WL 100332 (Ark. Ct. App. February
The husband was a regional vice-president for Wal-Mart;
the wife was a homemaker. The husband filed for divorce
in 1999, stating that the couple had lived separate and
apart for eighteen months. The chancellor each party fifty
percent of their marital assets, which had a value over
$4 million. The chancellor found that appellees interest
in Wal-Mart stock options that could not yet be exercised
were not marital property but compensated appellant with
an award of alimony.
The wife claimed error in failing to award the stock options.
The court disagreed with her claim.
Hackney v. Hackney, 794 So. 2d 1159 (Ala. Civ. App. 2001):
The parties married in June 1983 and lived together
until October 1998. At the time of the marriage, the husband
and wife were both employed in the healthcare field. The
wife testified that following the birth of their first child
in 1985, she resigned her position in healthcare administration
and became a housewife. She stated that for the first few
years of their marriage, she assisted her husband in establishing
a medical-supply company. She stated that she has been the
primary caregiver for the parties four children, including
the youngest child, who was born with severe birth defects
and has special needs. Regarding the marital assets, the
wife stated that her husband had started numerous business
ventures during the marriage, including healthcare services,
a cattle operation, farming, and developing real estate;
and that he had controlled all of the parties financial
decisions. She stated that they argued about the marital
assets because he would not include her in any of the decision-making.
Regarding the property division, the husband testified
that before the marriage he had acquired some property located
near to, or adjoining, his familys property. However,
there was uncontradicted testimony that each of the properties
awarded to the wife was purchased during the marriage. ...
Accordingly, the trial court did not err in awarding the
wife real property that was titled only in the husbands
Fox v. Fox, No. 01AP-83 (Ohio App. Dist.10 04/25/2002):
Question addressed was classification of millions of shares
of a corporation, worth over $3,000,000. Relying on an antenuptial
agreement and principles concerning separate property, court
held shares were separate. The later acquired stock options,
however, were marital.
Medlock v. Medlock, 263 Neb. 666, 642 N.W.2d 113 (Neb. 04/12/2002):
Question presented was whether the wife could pierce the
corporate veil and assert the close corporation, worth millions,
as the husbands alter ego.
Millstein v. Millstein, 2002 -Ohio- 4783 (Ohio App. Dist.8
Husbands separate property, worth $128 million,
protected by prenuptial agreement. Wife entitled to only
1% of what otherwise would be marital property.
In re Marriage of McGuire, No. B144802 (Cal. App. Dist.2
Trial court erred in terminating the 707 Partnership without
winding up the partnership business, including valuing the
community contribution to the 707 Partnership; case remanded
for further proceedings on that issue. Estate worth $20
million ($56 million distributed during the marriage).
Teller v. Teller, No. 22440 (Haw. 08/30/2002):
Court found that $1,058,945 of the approximately $3 million
earned in the sale of business was equally divided between
pre-marital intellectual property and post-marital property.
Eliz v. Eliz, No. 05-01-00085-CV (Tex. App. Dist.5 08/19/2002):
Husbands cardiology practice worth $4.3 million,
other assets worth $2 million. Case remanded on distribution,
because trial court improperly awarded wife the husbands
Pillet v. Kendrick, No. A095615 (Cal. App. Dist.1 05/06/2002):
Issue was fraudulent transfer of millions in marital assets.
In re Marriage of Kirkpatrick, No. 2-00-1411 ( 04/18/2002):
Petitioners estate worth $12 million. Distribution
of estate not discussed. (Issue was divorce on grounds of
In re Marriage of Gray, No. C038565 (Cal. App. Dist.3 11/19/2002):
Marital estate worth over $3 million. Wife appealed on
grounds trial court failed to file a statement of decision.
Appeal denied, because wife failed to show division was
Redd v. Redd, No. 2001-CA-00992-COA (Miss. App. 10/22/2002):
Marital estate worth $5 million. Wife received 23% on
distribution, she appealed. Affirmed, after considering
factors in statute.
For more reading on the big case, see the latest
issue of the Journal
of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.