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The possibility of appeals in a high asset divorce

A significant number of people living in Massachusetts going through a divorce eagerly await the day when it will all be over. The process often puts an unusual amount of stress, both financial and emotional, on the people involved. However, especially in a high asset divorce, one party may not be satisfied with the final outcome and pursue an appeal. An appeal could focus on spousal support and/or property division issues decided at the trial court level, among a myriad of other concerns. In some instances, these appeals can continue back and forth over long periods of time. 

Some may have heard about the divorce of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America founder, Richard Stephenson, and his wife, Alicia Stephenson, which took more than eight years to complete. The entire process was filled with bitter arguments and accusations of extortion and attempts to hide assets. When the divorce was finalized, Richard Stephenson's now ex-wife was awarded a $6.5 million lump sum and spousal support in the amount of $55,000 per month.

However, Alicia Stephenson was not yet satisfied and has since filed an appeal. She claims that her share of her husband's assets were undervalued. These assets include multiple properties and homes as well as financial assets. Her attorneys are now requesting an additional $250,000 from Mr. Stephenson to cover his ex-wife's legal fees.

A high asset divorce like this one may drag out for months or years, depending on how amenable the parties involved are to working with one another. By contacting local attorneys, Massachusetts residents going through a divorce may be able to more easily and effectively communicate about the issues that must be resolved. Attorneys may also be able to help clients who wish to appeal a lower court ruling, based upon an apparent error of fact or law. 

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Ex-wife of Cancer Treatment Centers founder appeals multimillion-dollar divorce ruling", Amanda Marrazzo, Dec. 14, 2017

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