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High-asset divorce includes unusual and complicated claims

Denver divorce proceedings can be very complicated, particularly if highly valuable assets are involved. When millions are at stake, issues of alimony, asset division, and other financial disputes can stretch into years-long court battles, and may include novel legal claims.

For hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen and his ex-wife Patricia Finke, the fight over the division of their marital assets has now lasted longer than the marriage itself, with their latest legal battle including a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act claim. The RICO allegation, brought by Finke, may be an attempt to touch on the insider trading accusations that her ex-husband’s hedge fund has recently been facing; several of Cohen’s employees were convicted of the crime, and Cohen himself is currently battling a Securities and Exchange Commission suit.

Finke’s lawsuit against Cohen is apparently the result of her 2006 discovery that her ex-husband had failed to disclose a $5.5 million lawsuit settlement that he received prior to their divorce. A district court judge ruled that while Finke cannot proceed with a RICO claim because she lacks standing, she can continue with her breach of fiduciary duty and fraud charges.

The initial divorce settlement awarded Finke $1 million, along with a valuable piece of Manhattan real estate and child support payments.

As this case illustrates, divorces can include multiple complex issues. This can be particularly true for a high asset divorce, as there is ample financial motivation on both sides to obtain certain outcomes. If you are thinking about initiating divorce proceedings, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney to answer any questions you may have regarding your assets.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Steve Cohen’s ex-wife sues him, offers a glimpse of how the super-rich live,” Christina Rexrode, Jan. 27, 2014

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