The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic


    Marital Equity

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    Admin
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    Marital Equity

    Post by Admin on Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:03 pm

    Marital Equity

    Recently Lorna J. Wendt turned down a $10 million divorce settlement from her husband of thirty one years, Gary C. Wendt, the CEO of General Electric, whose net worth may be as much as $100 million. She argued that helping put her husband through Harvard Business School, and then taking on the role of a corporate executive's wife, which involved, in her case, playing hostess at business parties, organizing charity events, relocating on very short notice, and listening patiently to tales of office woes, were investments that entitle her to one half of Mr. Wendt's fortune. While a 50/50 settlement is common practice in divorce cases, American courts generally will not award a wife one half when more than 10 or 15 million dollars is at stake. Instead, the wife is awarded an amount that enables her to live in the style to which she has become accustomed. Martha Fineman, a Columbia University law professor who testified at divorce proceedings for Ms. Wendt, says that a decision against Ms. Wendt would say that typical contributions to a marriage are not valued. Mr. Wendt says, she (Ms. Wendt) was not responsible for his success. This is about who created and preserved the assets.

    Notes:

    Fourth Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, APPE, 2/26/98

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    (c) Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE)


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