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Real Housewife's real real estate problems complicate divorce

There is not a "Real Housewives" franchise in Lake County -- that we know of -- but that does not mean we cannot learn from the shows and their stars. Bethenny Frankel's split with her husband, for example, points out some important ways that other areas of the law dovetail with family law. In Frankel's case, real estate law is dictating how she and her husband proceed with their divorce.

It seems that Frankel, her husband and their daughter are still sharing the $5 million apartment the Skinnygirl entrepreneur purchased for $5 million. She owns the apartment, but she cannot evict her husband. Their city's law says that the only reason a person can evict a spouse is if there is significant abuse or violence. So he stays.

Family law professionals from the area say that these things happen fairly often. Both spouses will stay under one roof until a child custody and visitation agreement or even a property settlement is in place. Friends of Frankel's husband indicated that that is what is going on here: Jason Hoppy will move out only when the couple's rancorous child custody dispute is settled. The implication is that leaving before they reach an agreement would put him at a disadvantage in negotiations. And, Frankel may be inspired to move ahead more quickly with the agreement just to get Hoppy out of the house.

Of course, Frankel may not actually own the apartment. Recent reports indicated that Frankel purchased the apartment in her (former) assistant's name. It is not clear what impact this will have on the couple's living arrangements now or after the divorce.

For couples that are considering a divorce, Frankel's situation offers a good illustration of why it is best to work with experienced family attorneys. There is more to divorce than the divorce itself.

Source: The Daily Mail, "How Bethenny Frankel bought her $5 million apartment in her assistant's name (and why divorcing hubby Jason Hoppy won't move out until custody battle for little Bryn is over)," Sara Nathan, March 21, 2013

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