The Divorce that Never Ends?

The marriage only lasted five years, but the divorce has just surpassed the 10 year mark. The case has already produced almost 600 motions and rulings – and there’s no end in sight.

This  long divorce and child custody case is playing out in a Connecticut family court between David Zilkha, a former investment advisor, and his ex-wife, Karen Kaiser. It began on August, 13, 2003, when Kaiser filed the action against Zilkha, saying the marriage had “broken down irretrievably.” The divorce was granted in May 2005, but the battle has continued to wage between the two over child custody issues involving the couple’s 12-year-old twin son and daughter and legal fees.

KerryZilkha is a British citizen and now lives in London. He hasn’t seen the children in four years, and accuses Kaiser of repeatedly lying to the court about him and alienating the children from him. A court ordered mental evaluation allegedly determined that the father has such a severe narcissistic personality disorder that he shouldn’t be allowed to see the children. Kaiser says he can see the children under supervised visitation but he refuses. He claims that it would cost him $5,000 per visit.

The divorce also resulted in embroiling Zilkha in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation in an insider trading scandal involving his employer, Pequot Investment and his former employer, Microsoft. In 2009, Kaiser gave copies of emails she had saved from Zilkha’s computer to the SEC. The emails revealed that he had given the chairman of Pequot inside trading information about Microsoft. Pequot made $14 million from that information.

As a result of the investigation, Pequot paid a $28 million settlement. The SEC also obtained a $250,000 judgment against Zilkha. Pequot fired Zilkha, but he later won a $2 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the company, payable in three installments – something he didn’t disclose in the divorce proceedings. The third installment is on hold until the family court decides that dispute.

For bringing the evidence to the SEC, Kaiser received a $1 million reward.

Once the decision has been made to divorce, there is no predicting how long or how difficult the process may be. Even when a couple thinks it will be a “friendly” divorce, many times issues arise that turn can turn acrimonious. Make sure you’re protected by contacting an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to represent you.

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