A high-asset divorce in Florida can cause shock and unease when you realize how much money and other assets you might have to give up. In Florida, marital property is divided equitably, which means that each spouse may end up with about half. Many spouses can accept the fact that they are going to have about half the worth they did before the divorce, but others tend to take irrational or dishonest steps to avoid this situation.

One man from another state has taken the effort to avoid a financial settlement to the extreme. He has taken much of his multi-million dollar fortune and put it in overseas banks — and fled the country.

The man and his wife were married for 16 years before the divorce was finalized. In a marriage of this length, much of the income and other wealth generated by the man in his career would likely be considered marital property, and therefore subject to property division.

Perhaps reluctant to agree to a settlement or submit to a court order, the man disappeared several months ago. It was also revealed that he had transferred most of his money to offshore accounts. His lawyers claim that they do not know where he is. Reached by phone, the man would say only that he is in Europe and that he has the right to live there as an Italian citizen.

Before he left, the man was ordered by the court to pay his wife temporary spousal support. He never paid, and the bill reached $289,000. The court also recently finalized the divorce in his absence. The judge ordered the man to pay his ex-wife $18 million, as well as the overdue support.

Of course, we do not suggest that anyone facing what they believe to be an unfair division of property to flee the country. A good divorce attorney can listen to your goals and hopefully negotiate a fair settlement.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Ex-CBOT chairman fled overseas in divorce fight, lawyers say,” Cynthia Dizikes, Oct. 9, 2013