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Adventures in Divorce Law

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Really, really rich older guy marries a much younger woman. His relatives don’t like the situation so they take legal action. Acrimony ensues.

Okay, the late Anna Nicole Smith isn’t starring in this particular movie. It’s a just-completed case in South Florida. A lawyer friend of mine who was on the winning side sent along the item from the Miami Herald.

How many first marriages take place at age 92? Alfred Kreisler, a life-long bachelor, a lawyer and an industrial-claims judge worth more than $22 million, waited a long time to walk down the aisle. So long that when it finally happened, they had to wheel him down the aisle.

Last October, he married a woman named Yvette Penichet, who was 43 and described by the Herald as “a Miramar divorcee.” Alfred’s older brother Seymour, age 95, was in the other room when the officiating rabbi wed the happy couple and signed the Florida marriage license.

Just two days before the wedding, Alfred parked $7.7 million in a joint bank account with Yvette. According to court testimony, Yvette sought on her wedding day to withdraw $400K to buy a Rolls-Royce, but the bank wouldn’t clear the funds. Right after she and Alfred said “I do,” she wired $30,000 to her son.

Two of Alfred’s nieces went to court, aided by my buddy and three other lawyers. They claimed Alfred “did not have the capacity to manage his own affairs or marry.” A judge appointed the nieces as their uncle’s co-guardians and took Yvette off the bank account.

Last week in a document called an “agreed final judgment,” a different Miami-Dade circuit judge pulled the plug, declaring the marriage void. The parties settled out the dispute. Yvette got to keep the 30 grand; she returned her wedding ring and waived any claim to Alfred’s millions.

The nieces signed a “non-prosecution form,” pledging not to press charges or to call in the authorities to investigate any claims of elder abuse.

And all is well that kind of ends well: The brothers Kreisler, Alfred and Seymour, are now the residents at an assisted living facility in South Florida, reports the Herald.

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