In Los Angeles, where Hollywood marriages begin and end on what seems like a daily basis, the question of who gets what is commonly asked. Sometimes, dividing marital property is complicated, especially when the divorce is contentious or if there was not a premarital agreement (also known as a prenup) in place to clearly set out the separation of assets.
Take the ongoing battle between East Coast socialites Whitney St. John and James B. Fairchild (of Fairchild Publications). The couple filed for divorce in 2011 and have been fighting over how to divide their fabulous collection of art and antiques ever since. With no amicable resolution in sight, a judge recently ordered the couple to liquidate their possessions and equally divide the proceeds. Yikes!
However, this is where things get even nastier. According to Fairchild, the Hamptons sale brought in far less than it should have because St. John hid over $300,000 worth of jewelry that she was required to sell. Not surprisingly, St. John lobbed identical accusations at her ex. She also accused Fairchild of selling a classic 1955 Jaguar for $175,000 and keeping the proceeds of the sale for himself. This divorce has certainly become a battle of he said, she said!
The truth is that valuables like jewelry and cash can be extremely challenging to track down. The first step an experienced divorce lawyer in Los Angeles would likely take in a case like this is subpoenaing the opposing side’s bank records. Additionally, it would be helpful to subpoena the other side’s insurance policies and look for an itemized schedule of the items covered or evidence that indicates the coverage amount of the policy was recently increased.
When it comes to the sale of a car, this type of transaction is more challenging to hide. Like other vehicles in operation, antique cars must be registered with the DMV. Therefore, a vehicle registration search would likely reveal whether your ex recently transferred the car’s title to another owner. To track down the cash from the sale, your lawyer would look for companies, trusts, or other entities where your ex-spouse may have stashed the cash and then discuss obtaining the relevant bank records.
How it will end up with Ms. St. John and Mr. Fairchild is to be determined, but to ensure that your divorce does not become a drawn out battle where no one wins, contact the experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Walzer & Melcher today.