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Divorce hearing divides assets of ex-surgeon

Property division in a divorce often evokes strong emotions, especially in a divorce with valuable assets. This type of divorce may also result in revenge spending, in which a spouse spends marital assets rather than allowing them to go to the other spouse. The following account of a contentious high-asset divorce will interest readers in Houston.

A famous ex-surgeon specializing in hand surgery appeared in a Texas courtroom on March 6 to discuss his assets in a divorce hearing. He is no longer licensed to practice medicine in Texas, although he once had a lucrative surgery business. The ex-surgeon bonded out of a county jail, where he was being held for exceeding his spending restrictions during the divorce.

He claims that he can fit all of his cash into a suitcase, although his estranged wife's attorneys claim that his net worth is quite high, with assets including two condominiums worth $6 million, yachts worth up to $1.7 million and numerous cars.

The primary focus of the hearing was to identify purchases and expenditures that the court might consider to be revenge spending. The ex-surgeon denied the accusations and repeatedly stated that he wanted his estranged wife to be happy.

A couple can often settle a divorce through mediation and negotiation. A divorce that proceeds to a trial will require a judge to make decisions that may not satisfy either spouse. In any case, Texans going through a divorce need to be aware the full range of their legal responsibilities and options.

Source: KTRK, "Former hand surgeon returns to court for divorce hearing," Deborah Wrigley, March 6, 2013

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