Ownership of marital assets in dispute in NY City real estate developer’s divorce

New York City real estate investor and developer Harry Macklowe, as some readers may have heard from local gossip, is currently working through a divorce with Linda Burg, his wife of 57 years. She apparently filed for divorce last July after it was discovered that he had been allowing a mistress to stay at one of his apartments, less than a mile from his home.

The divorce is apparently not going well for Macklowe, as his wife is fighting for more than a simple half-half division. She is also demanding additional financial disclosure from Macklowe to ensure she doesn’t miss out on any assets that may have been diverted to the mistress. She is, of course, well advised to do so. 

One of the interesting aspects of the divorce case is that, while Harry Macklowe is a wealthy man with a net worth of roughly $2 billion, his wife owns a majority of the marital assets. The reason for that, according to one source, is that Macklowe transferred many of his high-value assets to his wife’s name back around 2008 after he was unable refinance debt. The idea was to prevent creditors from seizing those assets going forward.

It isn’t known for certain at this point what the situation is with the couple’s marital assets. Macklowe’s attorneys are apparently insisting the assets in Linda’s name are actually joint property. The issue will, of course, have to be resolved for the couple to move forward with property division.

In any divorce case, property dividing property requires properly determining what assets are marital and what assets are separate. Marital property forms what is called the marital estate, and that is subject to equitable division in divorce. Property acquired during marriage is presumed to be marital property, but couples can take actions that destroy that presumption.

We’ll say more about this in our next post, and some precautions couples can take to protect their property from division in the event of divorce. 

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