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Divorce v. real estate law: Frankel's apartment woes

A wireless company is running a television commercial these days that features a little girl explaining why more is better. In an "out of the mouths of babes" moment, she says, "We want more." It's hard to argue with that, but it's also hard to get more of some things. In Manhattan, that something is real estate.

Yes, buildings go up, some get higher, some convert from one use to another, but, let's face it, Manhattan is an island, and it's not going to get any bigger. It is a fact of life here that a good apartment is hard to come by, and the laws tend to protect the people who have been lucky enough to land one. Like, say, Bethenny Frankel's estranged husband.

The couple continues to live in the $5 million apartment, and until they reach some kind of agreement over custody and property division, the situation will probably not change. Under New York's real estate laws, Frankel cannot evict her husband without proof of significant abuse or violence. So they stay, caring for their daughter and working on their divorce under the same roof.

Friends say that Frankel's husband, Jason Hoppy, will decamp when the couple has finalized a custody and visitation agreement. According to family law professionals, that is fairly typical in this situation: The couple cohabits until the child custody and, at times, property division are agreed on. Then one moves out.

A third party may have some say in the matter, though. Records indicate that Frankel purchased the apartment in her now-former assistant's name. The question no one is asking is whether the assistant could kick them both out, with or without the custody agreement in place.

Source: Daily Mail, "How Bethenny Frankel bought her $5 million apartment in her assistant's name (and why divorcing hubby Jason Hoppy won't move out until custody battle for little Bryn is over)," Sara Nathan, March 21, 2013

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