A wife was granted $184 million as equitable distribution after trial in a Chicago divorce action. This equitable distribution award is reported to be the largest in history.
Charles Meyer reports in the Pennsylvania Law Blog that “this is a rags to riches story, as the parties came to the United States from Eastern Europe with only $500. Husband became a huge success in the energy business, and later sold his business for several hundred million dollars.
At issue in the case was the wife’s contribution to the wealth.
David Sarnacki writes in Domestic Diversions that:
They would walk together after dinners, and Michael would share details of his work, looking for empathy, advice or merely an open ear,” Rosenfeld wrote in court filings. “For many years, their marital partnership flourished. Michael provided sustenance and security, and Maya provided love, support, advice and counsel
While the numbers may seem obscene, the result seems just. The reported facts reveal that the marriage was a true economic partnership. All of the wealth was created during the long term marriage through the joint efforts of the couple. It seems only fair that the marital property be divided equally. Quite frankly, even if the division of marital assets should not have been equal, would a 60-40 split of the nearly $400 million marital estate really made that much of a difference to these parties?
It is, disappointing that this couple did not follow the lead of Blixseths, who divided their fortune amicably over a bottle of wine.