Illinois residents may be interested to know that the divorce of Oprah’s father, Vernon Winfrey, from his wife, Barbara Winfrey, has caused some legal strife for the family. These problems are particularly related to the use of property shared by the divorcing parties.
The marital property in question, a $1.4 million home in the gated community of LaurelBrooke, is owned by a trust created by Oprah. Before their divorce, the couple had been living in this home, which will now be put up for sale, according to Oprah’s spokesperson.
These complications mirror some of the potential problems that can arise after divorces in high-income families. While the property in question in this scenario is owned by an independent trust started by Oprah, many divorcing couples are forced to make hard decisions in either a mediation process or a divorce case in order to determine how best to handle shared real estate.
As part of the Winfreys’ divorce complications, Barbara also tried to claim financial support from Vernon in order to maintain her quality of life. No determination has yet been made regarding this issue, but it brings up another key problem that many divorcing couples face: how to split financial assets.
Issues such as dividing bank accounts, retirement accounts and real estate can cause serious complications requiring legal consultation and sometimes court proceedings. In making these decisions, it is preferable for the divorcing spouses to come up with a mutually acceptable plan. If such an agreement isn’t possible, the parties need to be fully aware of their legal options under current divorce law.
Source: USA Today, “Oprah stops eviction triggered by father’s divorce,” Kevin Walters, Nov. 1, 2012
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Divorce of Oprah’s father causes property complications