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Judge threatened contempt unless man filed bankruptcy in divorce

Photo of Karen Lavin

When a divorce occurs, it can be difficult to balance the interests of the two parties. Property division can be especially tricky. In one ongoing case, an Illinois judge has ordered the husband to declare bankruptcy in order to protect the assets to which the wife is entitled.

The husband is the founder of a series of failed retail stores that specialized in buying and selling used goods and valuables. The husband now reportedly faces millions of dollars in liability from federal and state taxes associated with the now out-of-business stores, as well as at least thirty lawsuits for issuing bad checks. His current assets are valued at somewhere between $10 million and $50 million, but his debts are between $50 million to $100 million.

Planning for the possibility of divorce - by means of a prenuptial agreement, for example - can ease the transition should couples ever decide to part ways. Every situation is different, depending on the couple's assets, family situation and personal preferences. Thus, it is important to consult a professional who is willing to sit down and tailor an appropriate plan to the specific needs of the couple's situation. It is unclear whether the couple here had a prenuptial agreement, which assets and debt belong to whom and the extent to which the bankruptcy will protect the wife.

The couple owns a $3 million vacation home in the Ozarks, and half of a private jet - the latter of which they purchased using $600,000 worth of silver. It is also unclear what spousal support, more commonly known as alimony, the wife may receive in addition to any property settlement.

The husband had promised back in July to file bankruptcy, but the judge eventually threatened to hold the man in contempt to ensure he took the proper action. While he missed the court ordered Labor Day deadline, the judge allowed the further delay due to the complexity of the estate.

Source: Illinois Times, "Parsons declares bankruptcy," Bruce Rushton, Sept. 11, 2012

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