On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Property acquired while the parties are married and living together is generally classified under Florida law as marital property. Marital property is divided in a divorce proceeding according to a concept known as equitable distribution. This means that the court can divide marital property in any proportion that is fair and equitable, considering the needs and circumstances of the parties. There are a number of factors set forth in the equitable distribution law that the court is directed to consider in making an order of distribution.
These basic concepts will likely come into play in a lawsuit filed recently in a state court by a socialite, Tracey Hejailan-Amon, against her billionaire husband, Maurice Alain Amon. She alleges that he lifted their $25 million art collection from their residence and stored the pieces. He then went to a foreign jurisdiction where he filed for divorce.
It is unclear, but it appears that the New York lawsuit is in the nature of a divorce complaint along with an emergency request for injunctive action to prevent the impending auction sale of a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that is worth at least several million dollars. The suit claims that the parties do not have a prenuptial agreement and that the art was purchased by the wife during their marriage. If those basic facts are proved to be true, it would appear that the artwork is in fact marital property.
Under these circumstances, based on the allegations of the complaint, the court has the authority to block the sale of the Basquiat and the other works in the collection. In fact, the court generally has the authority to freeze the disposition of all marital property pending the resolution of the equitable distribution issues in the divorce proceeding. Because the artworks are clearly irreplaceable by money alone, it appears likely that the court will grant an injunction, assuming that the facts are substantial as alleged in the wife’s complaint. The law of equitable property distribution is quite similar in those states that have adopted it as law, making these principles equally applicable in a Florida divorce proceeding.
New York Post, “Happily married” socialite stunned by surprise divorce“, Julia Marsh, Nov. 9, 2015