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High-asset divorce ends with large payout

Marriage dissolution can affect an individual on many levels. Emotionally, he or she may feel cheated, devastated, disappointed or angry. Although these emotions can be more than enough to cope with, they can only be exacerbated by the potentially life-altering financial changes that can accompany them.

To see an example of how much can be at stake, financially speaking, one need only look to the recent result of a divorce involving the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and his wife. According to reports, Alicia Stephenson will walk away with $27,500 a month in alimony in addition to a one-time payment of $6.5 million and a $450,000 payment for housing. The judgment comes after eight years of heated arguments that could not be resolved without litigation.

When the matter went to trial, every detail of the parties' spending habits were aired. One individual who testified was termed a "lifestyle analyst," and indicated that Ms. Stephenson needed about $5 million a year to maintain her standard of living. The judge disagreed, though, finding that her expenditures were well-beyond what her former husband should support.

The couple had a prenuptial agreement that helped settle many of their divorce legal issues, but spousal support was left open in the agreement, giving rise to the years-long battle. This helps illustrate just how important prenuptial agreements, negotiations, and litigation can be in the realm of family law.

Those who are not prepared to confront these issues with aggressiveness can find themselves facing a severe financial setback that can hit them hard at a time when they may already be experienced emotional difficulties.

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