Homes, jets, yachts and jewelry are among the assets being fought over by the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America Richard Stephenson and his former wife Alicia. The global headquarters for CTCA is located in Boca Raton, and Mrs. Stephenson is reportedly considering purchasing a home in our state. However, the rancorous divorce proceedings are taking place not far from Mr. Stephenson's estate outside of Chicago.
Although the multimillionaire couple's marriage, which began in 1991, was officially dissolved earlier in the year, the two are still in court fighting over how much Mrs. Stephenson will receive – seven years after she filed for divorce.
The couple had a prenuptial agreement, which Mr. Stephenson's attorneys are seeking to enforce. Under that, his ex-wife would receive monthly spousal support of $5,000 and $250,000 to purchase a home.
Mrs. Stephenson's attorneys are asking for far more than the prenup stipulates, including monthly spousal support of $400,000 plus a share of the couple's considerable assets. She's reportedly been looking at multimillion-dollar properties in Florida and Chicago.
Her lifestyle since the separation has drastically changed, they argue, compared to what she was used to when the couple was married. They say she deserves to continue that lifestyle, which included "fairy tale" parties with top-name entertainers, expensive cosmetic treatments, a Virgin Islands vacation property and four private jets. Friends and associates of the couple have testified regarding the couple's lavish lifestyle and Mrs. Stephenson's role in the business.
Mr. Stephenson has argued that many of the assets in question belong to the business. His ex-wife's attorney, however, asserted that he intentionally organized his business holdings to prevent his wife from being able to get a share of them.
Stephenson's attorney pointed out that Mrs. Stephenson had little in assets when she met her husband. He asked a longtime friend of Mrs. Stephenson, who testified that the situation had been stressful for her, if that was because she must "live like an ordinary person now."
High-asset divorces can get complicated and combative when one person stands to lose a lavish lifestyle he or she enjoyed for many years. When that spouse also has played a role in building a business that belongs to the other spouse, the stakes can be even higher. Even with considerable assets at stake, however, couples can work with their attorneys to reach an amicable agreement if they commit to doing so.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Jets, vacation homes, Botox all factors in cancer center founder's divorce," Amanda Marrazzo, Oct. 21, 2016