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Expenses take center stage in high asset divorce case

A colorful divorce trial for a former Houston hand surgeon has continued to unfold in a Texas courtroom, as the man's fourth wife accuses him of overspending. Expenses often feature prominently in high asset divorce cases, and this one appears to be no different thus far. The man and his former spouse have locked horns in a divorce saga for over two years now, frequently making headlines for their money-related accusations.

Like many high-profile couples who split in the public eye, this pair has had to experience many of their financial details coming to light. The woman recently accused her former husband of lavish spending that he argued was necessary and appropriate for his position as a CEO. The expenses allegedly included hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry for a girlfriend, $25,000 worth of airfare to Europe, and an $80,000 timepiece. The man claimed that these purchases corresponded with his behavior as an effective businessman.

High dollar amounts are a hallmark of this case, as the man's bond was set at $500,000 for a contempt charge earlier in the proceedings. He has since been released from jail and made a return to the courtroom. The lawyer for his former wife has grilled him on details of other purchases, including a nearly $9 million property located in Florida. Other points of contention include yachts and charges made to the man's business credit cards. The couple has also been disagreeing over child custody, adding an extra layer of strong emotions to an already-tense case.

In divorce cases where one or both parties earn a substantial income and may have multiple properties, understanding the complex financial litigation is best left to an attorney experienced in such matters. Especially if accusations of overspending are present, a high asset divorce case requires the uncovering of hidden accounts or money ensconced within family businesses. In addition, qualified counsel can also remind parties of oft-forgotten assets such as retirement accounts, gifts, trust funds, or inheritances.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Out on bond, Brown takes the stand in divorce case," Erin Mulvaney, March 6, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

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