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Property division litigation may be necessary for lobbyists

Divorce experts in Pennsylvania have been following the story of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin as they pursue a "conscious uncoupling" breakup based on mediation. Not everyone uses such mild methods for their own property division proceedings, however, as evidenced by news reports out of the nation's capital. Reports show that a powerful lobbyist is filing for divorce from his wife -- and fellow lobbyist -- in a Washington, D.C., court. The scathing document was followed by a countersuit from his estranged wife; the pair has been separated for more than a year and a half.

A significant amount of marital property is at stake in this divorce, with news articles mentioning a large art collection and perhaps even business holdings. Both members of the couple own successful lobbying firms. The man is arguing that he essentially built the woman's career during the period after their marriage in 2003; as a consequence, it appears that he is willing to endure a bitter fight to retain possession certain of non-marital property. The woman is poised for a similar battle, already demanding ownership of the couple's mansion.

The acerbic language in the filing hints at the possibility of a drawn-out property division proceeding. The man reportedly snubs the woman in the divorce papers, pointing out that she was making just $55,000 when they married. However, he argues that he helped build her brand because of their marriage, which helped her cultivate an image within the political community. He is essentially saying that she owes her professional success to his business acumen. It is not clear how that language will play into an actual property division case. In addition to those allegations, the woman is also accused of acting to harass and embarrass the man in order to receive a larger share of the marital property.

Although some couples are able to resolve their property division concerns through mediation, sometimes divorce litigation is required. This may even be true between ex-partners who do not have bitter feelings toward each other; rather, complex property division may require a more in-depth process. A Pennsylvania attorney may provide additional information about legal rights and options for couples struggling to divide their business assets and other holdings.

Source: Washingtonian, "Dueling Lobbyists: Tony and Heather Podesta File for Divorce in DC Superior Court" Carol Ross Joynt, Apr. 04, 2014

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