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High net worth divorce battle escalates over earrings

Any divorce can be volatile, but when a couple is facing the division of millions in assets, things could easily become contentious. In Michigan and many states, courts divide assets equitably, though not necessarily equally. When dealing with high net worth, it may be arguable what the two parties consider a fair division of their marital property.

In another state, a couple in the midst of divorce is dealing with $175 million worth of assets. Peter Thomas Roth made his fortune selling high-end skin care products such as "cloud cream" and "eyelid lift serum." Despite filing for divorce, the couple shared a luxurious town house even while dating other people. However, recent events may be making any close contact tense. Reportedly, the 94-year-old mother of the skin care guru has filed a lawsuit demanding her soon-to-be ex daughter-in-law return a 15-carat diamond valued at $500,000.

The lawsuit claims that Roth's wife apparently used the diamond, along with one of her own, to create a pair of earrings which the two women shared. The wife contends that the earrings were a wedding present from her mother-in-law. Her legal team suggests that Roth is using his elderly mother as a new tactic to keep legitimate marital assets from his wife.

Michigan divorces are not always so combative, but when dealing with high net worth, there is a lot at stake. Anyone who is considering divorcing a spouse when there is substantial wealth at risk would benefit from consulting an attorney who has the resources and experience to properly value assets and understand the complex nature of some investments. The careful handling of martial property will ensure that one's interests are protected.

Source: New York Post, "Skin care mogul in divorce battle wants mom's $500K ring back", Kathianne Boniello, Feb. 5, 2017

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