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Artwork and real estate become issues in power couple divorce

California residents may be interested reading about in the divorce proceedings of two art-collecting lobbyists in Washington, D.C. The husband only recently filed for divorce, although the couple had announced that they were separating a year before. At the time that the news was announced, it was believed that the couple would not face any problems dividing their large collection of artwork. Now, in his divorce filing he is asking that he be able to retain the artwork that he acquired before marriage. Although it is generally standard for individuals to keep their premarital property, the court may need to evaluate each asset to properly characterize it as separate or marital property.

The husband also wants to keep his premarital real property in Australia, Italy, Virginia and Washington. He alleges that his wife deceived him into giving her money for her separate house, suggesting that she would be willing to work on their marriage when in fact she was already dating a new partner.

The lobbyist feels that his wife is trying to meddle in his life and humiliate him as a form of financial blackmail. According to the court papers, she has asked art museums to refuse any works conferred upon them by her husband.

One other major claim made by the husband is that he is entitled to a portion of his wife's increased earning capacity. He alleges that he is largely responsible for his wife's success as a lobbyist, having introduced her to important contacts and having taught her the ins and outs of the business over the 11-year course of their marriage. It is assumed that each spouse will be represented by separate counsel who will attempt to negotiate a settlement.

Source: The Washington Post, "Tony Podesta divorce filing: wife Heather Podesta tried to ‘embarrass and harass’", Emily Heil, April 03, 2014

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