Most divorcing couples likely think they have little in common with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his third wife, Judith. The couple is divorcing after 15 years of marriage. The battle between the two, who own property in Palm Beach, however, is not unique.
As one attorney says, "He wants to give her as little money as possible, and she wants as much money as possible. It's pretty usual." She also notes, "It's not atypical for an attorney or spouse to say ‘if he's spending this amount of money on his luxuries, why does my lifestyle have to change right now?'"
In the first divorce hearing, held this month, Mrs. Giuliani disputed her estranged husband's claims that he can't afford the $63,000 monthly spousal support and other financial assistance she's seeking. She's asking him to pay the expenses on multiple homes and her mother's assisted living accommodations as well as her personal assistant's salary.
She is arguing that the former mayor spends an average of $2,000 on cigars and more than $1,000 on pens each month. She claims that in a six-month period, his personal spending totaled some $900,000. According to his estranged wife, he belongs to multiple country clubs, pays the upkeep on a half-dozen homes and spends lavishly on a new girlfriend.
Giuliani has been working as a consultant and attorney since he left office representing high-profile figures. One of his attorneys, however, claims that he's doing some of that work for free. The attorney also says that the publicity over his client's contentious divorce has affected his client's earning capability. The attorney says that Giuliani's income fell by nearly half between 2017 and 2018 -- to about $5 million. His wife's attorney referred to that as "sudden income deficiency syndrome."
In high-asset divorces, the spouse with more money may be able to find a way to hide much of that money. There are ways, however, for the other spouse to show that their former partner has more than they claim and that their spending habits don't mesh with the income and assets they purport to have. This can take some sleuthing on the part of professionals, but may be well worth the money spent to do that in the long run.