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In divorce, does being a genius mean you get the assets?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2011 | Firm News

Many Texans are familiar with divorce and the processes that surround it. Whether it’s the house, a business or just the family spoon collection, when it comes to dividing assets, each spouse could make an argument for why he or she should receive something. While justifications can vary, one divorcing man’s recent argument took things to a new level.

In an ongoing divorce between a New York financier and his wife, the couple’s $450 million in assets is at the center of the litigation. In an attempt to prove why he should receive the bulk of the goods, the husband has presented an unusual argument – his intelligence.

According to the New York Times, the man has requested that the judge hear his argument, supplemented by the testimonies of multiple psychologists, that his superior intellect made the couple wealthy. According to the husband, this argument would show the judge that his intelligence directly led to the couple’s financial success.

The man’s wife reportedly did not have a job outside of the home during their marriage, which lasted 30 years. The New York man once served as the CEO of Cendant and now holds a high-ranking position at Apollo Global Management.

After reviewing the reports, however, the New York Supreme Court justice says she will not take his argument into consideration as she determines the couple’s property division. The judge wrote that the man’s argument did not provide compelling evidence that his “innate genius” was directly related to the couple’s wealth.

The judge also added that the wife’s contributions to the three-decade marriage needed to be considered. The judge noted contributions that included raising the couple’s daughter, managing the family’s social and home lives, as well as facilitating important social connections that furthered her husband’s success.

Source: The New York Times, “In Divorce Case, Judge Refuses to Hear Evidence of ‘Genius,’” Peter Lattman, Aug. 4, 2011