Recently, a prominent Chicago financier has been accused in divorce court of transferring assets abroad in order to avoid making support payments to his wife. The man, who had served as chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, has also been accused of fleeing the country. The divorce proceedings with the man’s wife of 16 years reveal that he admitted to failing to pay taxes on his assets for decades but entered into a federal tax amnesty program. A judge declined to freeze the man’s assets, declaring the wife’s declaration of the man’s intentions to flee and transfer his assets speculative. The court ordered the man to pay the wife thousands of dollars in temporary support, and he fled the country and transferred his assets in response. The man’s lawyers have stated that they do not know his whereabouts. The court has ordered the man jailed until he pays the support, and he has stated that he is an Italian citizen in Europe, and that he intends to appeal the ruling.
In deciding property division, courts will generally look to an equitable, or fair, division of the property between the parties. They will generally look at the income levels of the spouses for deciding an equitable division of property. Thus, if one spouse has a great deal of wealth, as the husband in this case does, the court may order him to make support payments to the wife to maintain the spouses on an equal footing.
Spouses in a divorce matter have the legal right to make an agreement regarding the division of property. While the emotions of a divorce may make this difficult, it is preferable to the alternative, an acrimonious battle for the assets of the marriage.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Longtime Board of Trade Chairman fled overseas in divorce fight, ex-wife’s lawyers say,” Cynthia Dizikes, Oct. 9, 2013