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Bear Market? Dump Your Wife

So say divorce lawyers.

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The shaky stock market and subprime disaster have some divorce attorneys advising their clients to pull out of marriages (now!) as a way to cut losses on future payouts. “I was talking with one of my clients the other day, and I told him, ‘You don’t need to ride the market and your wife,’” says attorney Nancy Chemtob, who represents fashion plate Tory Burch, who filed for divorce from her venture-capitalist husband, Christopher Burch, last year. Under the state’s divorce laws, all income earned (along with stocks, mutual funds, and real estate) can be deemed marital property by the courts, and each spouse is generally entitled to half. So Chemtob is telling many of her Wall Street clients that if they want divorces, and if they think their salaries and bonuses will be lower next year, why be forced by the courts to split less money? Not everyone sees shorting your marriage now as such a wise move. Attorney Susan Bender says that “we have some pretty savvy judges in New York,” who know that some people file to beat the market.

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