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Texas woman sues store over affair-laced gifts she can't return

Who doesn't love receiving gifts from a spouse or other romantic partner? Here's an exception: gifts that come from a husband who's having an affair with someone else.

A Dallas-area woman was the recipient of $1.4 million worth of gifts her husband bought her, but also profiting from them was his mistress: the wife's personal shopper, who received hefty commissions from selling the gifts.

Two years after her husband filed for divorce, at least one facet of the couple's property division battle continues. The wife is suing Neiman Marcus for not allowing her to return the merchandise. She claims the retailer is committing fraud and engaging in deceptive business practices, in part because the store's policy says customers may return any items with which they aren't satisfied. But she also alleges the store knew about the arrangement between its employee and her husband yet did nothing to stop it.

The woman's attorney says that with the help of her personal shopper, she went from spending roughly $100,000 a year at the department store with the help of her personal shopper in 2006 to almost $850,000 in 2009. It wasn't until the couple divorced in 2010 that she realized the gifts from her husband were being paid with her credit card and picked out by her husband's mistress as she profited from the sales commissions. If she'd known all of these details, she never would have allowed the purchases, the lawsuit says.

Both the department store and the personal shopper have denied the allegations, calling the lawsuit groundless and filed out of spite. But the woman's attorney said rather than seeking revenge, his client is simply holding the defendants accountable.

The lawsuit is unusual, but it's one of many legal consequences of a high net worth divorce. When couples with considerable wealth divorce, the division of property and assets is often contentious, particularly when tangled with an extra-marital affair. In difficult situations like these, a family law attorney who focuses on high net worth divorces can help sort out the details and prevent the divorce from becoming any more complicated than it has to be.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Neiman Marcus Divorce: Woman Sues Neiman Marcus For Fraud In Love Triangle," Linda Stewart Ball, May 31, 2012

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