Some Pennsylvania residents might assume that the divorce of a wealthy couple -- or one in which at least one person is very wealthy -- might be a cakewalk compared to the average marital split. After all, the wealthy spouse is likely to stay wealthy, and the other spouse is sure to get a sizeable chunk of that wealth through alimony ... right?
This may be true in some cases, but for the most part, a high-asset divorce can be every bit as difficult as one between couples who make very little. In fact, sometimes having a lot more money can cause a lot more trouble.
Consider the divorce of a wealthy Connecticut couple who have been battling each other for a full decade now. The wife filed in 2003 after five years of marriage, and the divorce was made official two years later. But somehow the proceedings have dragged on and on, with no end in sight. Each spouse has filed motion after motion against the other, claiming wrongdoing of some kind. They've accused each other of lying to authorities, defamation and physical violence. The husband claims he hasn't seen his twin son and daughter in four years because the wife insists on supervised visits that cost thousands of dollars. The wife says that her ex-husband's narcissistic personality is extremely damaging to the 12-year-olds. The accusations go on and on, much to the frustration of the judge in their case. One problem may be that the well-to-do investment adviser and his former homemaker wife can afford to have their case languish in a court for so many years as they fight over their children, assets and a multitude of other issues.
Of course, the real victims here are the couple's twins, who can't remember a time when their parents weren't battling each other. No matter how much wealth may support them, it's hard to argue that they haven't been damaged by the ordeal. Regardless of how long you can afford to drag out your divorce to ensure that you get everything you want -- and your spouse suffers -- it's important to remember the whole point of any divorce: to walk away from an unworkable marriage and carry on with life as a happier, healthier family.
Source: USA Today, "No end in sight for 10-year-old divorce case," Dave Collins, Sept. 8, 2013