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Tony and Heather Podesta in the midst of a complex divorce case

It is not uncommon for the divorce proceedings of high-profile couples to attract the attention of the public. The complex divorce of the lobbyist couple, Heather and Tony Podesta, is being widely reported currently, and the biggest bone of contention seems to be the 1,300 artworks in their possession. With Texas being a community property state, each party is trying to protect their own interests and to claim their fair share, rather than settling for the prescribed 50/50 division of assets.

According to community property state laws, assets that were owned by one party before the marriage are considered to belong to that person. Tony Podesta claims to have acquired the majority of the art collection before they got married. He asserts that he had been known for collecting and donating art for many years. He also claimed that his soon-to-be ex-wife used his name to create her own success and was riding the coat tails of the goodwill he had established.

In a counterclaim, Heather Podesta asserted that their success was a mutual effort and that they had created the art collection together. She asked the court to issue an order to prohibit Tony Podesta from donating any paintings without written consent from both of them. She also requested to be awarded their home and for the appointment of a trustee to oversee the division of the art collection. The division of assets is known to be an extremely difficult process, particularly since both parties claim to have contributed to it.

An important aspect that cannot be overlooked is the value of intangible assets, such as goodwill. Both personal and professional goodwill may be valued during such a complex divorce. Both parties may want to learn about the most efficient and cost-effective legal options available under Texas state laws. By compromise and collaboration, the property division agreement could be customized to the specific requirements of each individual. Mediation may prove to be the ideal way to move through the divorce process without delay, and allow both spouses to pursue planning a brighter and more stable future.

Source: politico.com, "Heather and Tony Podesta divorce documents released", Tal Kopan and Lucy McCalmont, April 11, 2014

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