As the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Vinik is one of the most high-profile Floridians. The former money manager is a real estate developer with a high net-worth. Vinik and his wife Penny are getting divorced after 33 years of marriage, setting up a potential fight in court over the division of the assets.
Legal experts expect that this divorce may end up contentious because the couple announced that they were splitting before the assets have been divided. Many wealthy couples will have a settlement agreement in place before they publicly announce the divorce. However, Penny’s lawyer has indicated that there is no such accord and has submitted court filings detailing her “substantial contribution” in acquiring the couple’s assets. She may potentially be entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars given the length of the couple’s marriage.
When there is a diverse set of marital assets and companies involved, cases can stretch on for years. Here, Penny may even be seeking compensation for part of the hockey team as it was acquired during their marriage. Jeff Vinik is currently involved in a major redevelopment project on the Tampa waterfront. The opening court filing means that this court case is only in its infancy unless the two parties are able to reach a settlement agreement.
High net-worth divorces will require legal help from the outset as there are invariably disputes about the value of the assets and each spouse’s entitlement to them. There may also be complicated business structures at work that each spouse needs to understand. A high-asset divorce attorney could get involved early in the process and begin working to get their client the best possible settlement. Many of these cases end up in court, and the lawyer could bring the case in front of a judge in a trial.