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Hedge fund founder's ex-wife loses another court battle

When a couple with considerable wealth divorces, it's essential that both spouses provide a complete and truthful accounting of their assets. Sometimes, one or both will bring in forensic accountants if they believe that their spouse is hiding assets to minimize his or her payment to the other.

The ex-wife of Steven Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, has been fighting a seven-year battle against her former husband, claiming that he hid millions of dollars from her in their 1990 divorce. After yet another ruling against her on May 19, Patricia Cohen may not be finished fighting, according to her attorney. He said, "If all the evidence were put before a jury we believe a jury would find for Mrs. Cohen."

In the years since Patricia Cohen filed her original lawsuit against her ex-husband, his wealth has nearly doubled, to over $11 billion. In her legal action, his ex-wife has accused the hedge fund executive of criminal activity, including racketeering, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.

Her 2009 lawsuit was first dismissed in 2011 because a judge determined that she had waited too long to sue. In 2013, the suit was reinstated by a New York appeals court. The following year, however, the racketeering claim was dismissed by another judge.

In this most recent ruling, a U.S. District Court judge determined that Patricia Cohen had waited too long to file suit, and that she didn't have the evidence to back it up. The judge stated, "Patricia has not produced evidence of any…assets belonging to Steven which he did not disclose to her in his 1988 Financial Statement." She said that there is "no evidence that Steven concealed any assets from Patricia during the divorce."

It's essential to know the statute of limitations on any type of legal action, including those involving a divorce settlement. Your family law attorney can advise you on your options and guide you through the process.

Source: Bloomberg, "Cohen Wins Another Round in Divorce Battle With Ex-Wife," Patricia Hurtado and Rebecca Spalding, May 19, 2016

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