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Actions of in-laws can complicate divorce

When Colorado couples decide to divorce, it is best to make every effort to be civil and deal with the other side respectfully and fairly. Acrimonious divorces are expensive, time-consuming and ultimately destructive to families.

Sometimes it is not just the husband and wife who supply the acrimony. When in-laws or other relatives decide to show how much they dislike one of the parties to the divorce, they can cause complications that prolong the litigation and make it harder for the couple to reach an amicable resolution.

In a lawsuit filed recently in New York, the husband in a divorce case alleges that his soon-to-be ex-father-in-law has used his wealth and influence to damage the husband's career. The couple were married in 1996. At the time of their wedding the Ivy League-educated husband worked for New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration; the wife was the daughter of a Manhattan real estate mogul. When the husband left government service, he joined his father-in-law's firm.

In a civil lawsuit filed recently, the husband alleges that once the couple announced their divorce, his father-in-law turned on him. According to the lawsuit, the father-in-law reduced the husband's stake in the real estate firm, cut him out of a multimillion-dollar development, and took away his health insurance and private office.

A high asset divorce is stressful enough without conduct like that alleged in the husband's lawsuit. If the allegations are true, the father-in-law's actions have the potential to further complicate what is likely an already complex asset division. In Colorado, marital property is divided equitably between the parties. If one party's business assets are reduced in value due to actions by the other party's family, the party whose family interfered could receive less in the asset division.

Source: New York Post, "Real-estate family tangled in prickly divorce," Julia Marsh & Laura Italiano, May 1, 2014

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