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Resolving disputes creatively

Developer and plastic surgeon finalize divorce agreement

Wealthy couples who decide to end their marriages often face complex financial and tax issues as they attempt to divide their assets. A recent case involving a prominent New York City real estate developer and his plastic surgeon wife shows how the struggle of negotiating a settlement in a high-asset divorce, instead of engaging in a lengthy public trial can benefit both spouses.

The pair in question, developer, Bruce Ratner, and plastic surgeon, Dr. Pamela Lipkin, submitted their confidential marital termination agreement to Judge Michael Katz. The judge accepted the agreement and congratulated the parties "on working this out." In order to make the agreement effective, both parties were required to waive their right to a trial and state under oath, that they resolved all remaining issues.

The details of the agreement were not disclosed, but Dr. Lipkin's lawyer said that neither party felt browbeaten. Ratner's lawyer said that, while neither party was thrilled with the agreement, both of them can "live with it."

Ratner has an estimated net worth of $400 million, and he is known for building the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, the Barclays Center and remodeling the Nassau Coliseum. Dr. Lipkin has appeared on national television to discuss plastic surgery, but her net worth was not disclosed.

Divorcing couples with high individual and combined net worth must resolve a number of financial issues, including the tax consequences of selling real estate and other assets, the division of retirement plans and investments and the assumption of joint debts. In such cases, the assistance of an attorney with experience in such cases can be helpful and provide protection against an unfair or burdensome settlement.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Real estate magnate Bruce Ratner and his plastic surgeon wife Pamela Lipkin reach divorce deal with little ugliness," Molly Crane-Newman & Nancy Dillon, April 21, 2017

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