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Venue contested in high asset divorce case

Tolison & Williams | 24 December, 2015 | Family Law

When a couple has amassed a high degree of wealth, dividing those assets during divorce can be a complex maneuver. In some cases, the manner in which property is divided can be greatly influenced by the venue in which the case is heard. Such is the case for one high-profile couple who are currently at odds over where their divorce case will proceed. While most Colorado residents will not encounter similar challenges within their divorce case, the issue can arise for those that have homes in multiple jurisdictions.

The case centers on the divorce between a millionaire businessman and his socialite wife. The couple do not have a prenuptial agreement, and when the husband filed for divorce, he did so in Monaco. That country has divorce laws that favor his interests. His wife filed paperwork in the United States, asking the court to stop the sale of the couple's art collection. That request was granted, although the scope of the order was recently narrowed to only cover those pieces of art that are currently in the this country.

In making his argument that the matter should be heard in Monaco, the husband has submitted photos of his wife's closet in their residence in that jurisdiction. Those photos show a sizable collection of clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. His legal team claims that the sheer volume of personal belongings that are housed in that location prove that the couple reside there, and therefore should have their divorce case heard in that jurisdiction.

When a high asset couple has homes in multiple jurisdictions, the matter of venue can be an important one. Some places have divorce laws that strongly favor one party over another. When there are millions of dollars at stake, spouses in Colorado and elsewhere will go to great lengths to control where their case is heard.

Source: Vanity Fair, "Why the Fate of a $25 Million Art Collection May Hinge on One Woman's Shoes", Emily Jane Fox, Dec. 10, 2015