Will Ex-Mayor Giuliani’s Contested Divorce Divide $60 Million Estate?
When Rudolph Giuliani was completing his third term as mayor of New York City in 2001, estimates placed his net worth at about $2 million. Today, those estimates have soared, ranging from $45 million on the low end to $60 million at the top of the scale. But with the news that his wife of 15 years, Judith, has filed for a contested divorce, the question becomes how much of that wealth will survive.
Under New York Domestic Relations Law, wealth acquired during the marriage generally belongs to the marital estate, and at first glance, it would seem that about 90 percent of Giuliani’s wealth came during his marriage to Judith. But before we imagine Rudy will acquiesce to an eight-figure payout, there are important facts to keep in mind.
First and foremost, New York is an equitable distribution state. That means marital property is divided in a manner that is fair under the totality of the circumstances, not necessarily equally. A court must consider many factors, such as each spouse’s relative contribution to the accumulation of wealth. Giuliani clearly capitalized on his public reputation to grow his fortune, and he built that reputation long before he was married to Judith.
Moreover, assets acquired with separate property are considered separate property. The timing of Giuliani’s consulting business, Giuliani Partners LLC, could be pivotal: he opened it in January 2002 but didn’t marry Judith until 2003. The considerable wealth tied to that business is arguably separate property.
Finally, Rudy Giuliani was married and divorced twice before marrying Judith. It seems unlikely that a former U.S. Attorney would have entered a third marriage without a strong prenuptial agreement. Still, the New York Post has reported that Judith filed for a contested divorce and is prepared to fight for marital assets, including the couple’s property in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
Without knowing more of the facts, it’s impossible to say whether this contested divorce will go to trial or whether they can reach a settlement through mediation. However, since the couple has no minor children, financial issues are all they have to work out.
According to Giuliani, “In these divorce situations, you cannot place blame, it is 50/50, there are problems on both sides.” However, even if the fault is equally shared, the couple’s assets most likely won’t be.
If you are considering mediation for your New York divorce, Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. can help. Call us at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.