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Money disappears in prolonged divorce battle

Divorce battles over money in California often turn ugly, but one New York man who has been in a dispute over property with his estranged wife since 2008 claims that he no longer even has the money in question. He further insists that the court has no right to decide the terms of his divorce because he had already dissolved his marriage in Lebanon.

Now awaiting the decision of a New York appellate court, he faces possible jail time for contempt of court. He refused to take the stand and answer questions about his assets. His lawyer maintains that he has a right not to testify and that the court has the burden of proving that he has the money in question.

According to court documents, proceeds of $776,000 from the sale of land in 2009 cannot be located. A court had ordered him in 2010 to deposit the money into an escrow account, but his lawyer claims that, at the time of the sale, he was not under a court order and therefore has not committed any violations. The lawyer for the ex-wife said that the man has also transferred a dry cleaning business to his sister in order to defy the court system. One of the appellate court judges stated that the man was making "a joke out of the court system."

Parties in the divorce process will need to disclose the ownership and location of property and assets. This information will be necessary for the property division order that will be issued as part of the decree. A family law attorney can assist a client with this and other issues that may arise during the proceedings.

Source: ABC News, "Divorcing Husband Urges NY Court to Accept Silence on Money", Michael Virtanen, Sept. 10, 2015

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