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The Handelsman Divorce: A Sweet Love Story with an Ugly Ending


Tabloid journalists whose job is to find far-fetched rumors about rich people and spin them into something even more salacious would be hard-pressed to come up with a story as clickable as the divorce of Burt and Lucille “Lovey” Handelsman, the couple who built a real estate empire throughout South Florida, only to spend their nineties embroiled in a legal battle as they divorced after 68 years of marriage.  Because of their advanced age and their vast wealth, their divorce case also involves issues of elder law and real estate law.  High asset divorce is rarely ever simple, but it is usually not nearly as complex as the Handelsman divorce.  A South Florida divorce lawyer can help resolve the issues in your high asset divorce with as little conflict as possible.

Details of the Handelsman Case

When Burt and Lovey Handelsman married in 1948, they were in their early 20s and lived in a modest apartment in New York.  They would go on to have two daughters and a son and to acquire so many real estate properties that almost everyone who has ever shopped or dined anywhere in South Florida, from Palm Beach down to the Florida Keys, has probably set foot in a building owned by the Handelsman family.

The trouble began in 2016, when Lovey discovered that Burt was having an affair with Jane Rankin, a real estate lawyer and family friend of the Handelsmans.  She had accompanied Burt and Lovey on vacations, as well as being listed in Burt’s will as the personal representative of his estate.  Lovey filed for divorce from Burt soon after learning about the betrayal, and her children sided with her in the dispute.  Needless to say, the tabloid rumors flew.  On the one hand, who wouldn’t divorce a cheating spouse?  On the other hand, rich people cheat all the time, and what would possess a sweet 87-year-old lady named Lovey to file for divorce when she and Burt had been through thick and thin together.

Dividing the couple’s $750 million assets was no simple matter, but each spouse got to keep some of their many real estate holdings.  Among the most contested real estate properties were a Key West bar that went to Lovey and a lucrative parking garage that went to Burt.  The legal battles did not end as soon as the divorce became final, though.  Burt and Lovey’s children sued Rankin for legal malpractice, alleging that she unjustly enriched herself during her years of work as a legal adviser to the Handelsman real estate dynasty.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

When affluent people get divorced, they could be in for a lengthy and costly legal battle.  A South Florida family law attorney will make every effort to ensure that you do not suffer too much financial damage in dividing the wealth that you worked so hard to amass before and during your marriage.  Contact the Boca Raton divorce lawyers at Schwartz | White about your divorce case.





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