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Austin TX Family Law Blog

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Half-Billion Dollar Divorce Goes Public Amidst Claims of Deceit

How can I keep my divorce out of the public eye?

Two years ago, a Galveston, Texas judge issued a final ruling in the divorce of Winnie Alwazzan and Isa Alwazzan.  Winnie was awarded over $400 million as part of the divorce decree, and the case stayed well away from the public light.  In fact, few had ever heard about the half billion-dollar divorce until now.  Recently, Isa and his legal team filed to have the divorce overturned on the grounds of fraudulent legal practices.  That motion was granted, and Winnie and Isa are once again married.  Now, the couple will duke out their high profile divorce in the lime light.  

Facts of the Case

Winnie and Isa Alwazzan met as college students.  Isa soon inherited his father’s interests in the company Intercol, which Winnie’s lawyers claim is worth $800 million.  The couple wed and had three children.  They lived in an 8,500 square foot home near Houston.  But after 27 years of marriage, Isa left Winnie, allegedly for another woman.  Without Isa’s financial support, Winnie lost the home and was forced to move to a trailer.  

Winnie and Isa signed a mediated divorce settlement in Montgomery awarding Winnie $168,000 and $3,500 a month in child support, but Winnie’s attorney moved shortly afterward to have it cancelled or declared “nonsuit” because it did not address Isa’s interest in Intercol. From there, Winnie’s legal team filed other petitions in different counties, which Isa claims amounted to forum shopping.  A judge awarded Winnie $416 million without Isa or Intercol’s presence.  When Isa and the company became aware of the judgment, they moved to have it dismissed, which the court granted.  Now, Winnie plans to appeal and Isa will need to show that the Galveston court never had jurisdiction to issue the ruling, all while the public watches this time around.

Keeping Your Divorce Private

Some couples may be concerned about the details of their divorce getting out to the public.  After all, no one wants private and sensitive information ending up on the news.  For celebrities and those with a high net worth, it may be crucial to maintain privacy.  Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your divorce private in Texas.  Your Texas divorce attorney can assist you in sealing your divorce record as a family law matter.  Your attorney can also guide you through a collaborative divorce, which will be done in private.  Additional options include putting a confidentiality clause in the divorce agreement or seeking a protection order.

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