Marital homes are not only assets but increasingly sources of dueling divorce battles. And here's a doozy that was reported in People.
Debbie Matenopoulos's estranged husband says their marital house is now only worth $4.3 million and not $8 million, and she better sell or he'll stop supporting the Los Angeles' home's upkeep.
In court documents, Jay Faires, 45, an L.A. music executive who makes $37,500 per month before taxes, is demanding that the E! Entertainment host, 33, either help pay the mortgage, agree to refinance, or move out and sell the home, according to his filing.
Furthermore, pulling the rug from under her, he says they both lived beyond their means and she had better adapt to a new reality.
He also says he's floored by all the expenses that he has to pay compare to her.
"Notwithstanding the fact that [Matenopoulos] earns at least $225,000 annually, she had her lawyers send my lawyer the cable bill and her cell phone bill to pay," Faires says. "If [she] wants to continue to live [in our home] and won't agree to sell, she should be paying all expenses associated with her use and occupancy, i.e. the mortgages, property taxes, utilities, insurance, gardener, pool, alarm, etc."
Faires filed for divorce on November 12 after five years of marriage.
He says he has moved out of the residence, and that Matenopoulos "has changed the locks and the alarm code so I can't enter the house." Faires says they owe approximately $1.5 million on the home, which carries a monthly payment of $11,671.
He adds that he's had the property appraised recently at $4.3 million, but alleges Matenopoulos "won't even consider selling [the home] unless we receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million."
For those who are doing the math, taking away the $1.5 million would leave the couple $2.8 million to divide.
"[She] apparently believes that at some point in time [the home's] value will increase by some $3.5 million," Faires says. "She also apparently believes that I ... pay all expenses ... while she lives there and pays for nothing, and waits for a real estate miracle to happen."
A hearing is set for Feb. 23.
Perhaps Faires could resort to what a Cambodian man did last year in exasperation. Not wanting to wait for the legal system, he sawed his marital home in half and was seen bicyling away with his share.
Obviously Matenopoulos wished her ex wouldn't have shared this personal information. What wasn't mentioned is that even for $4.3 million, it is still hard to find buyers in this market. Couples need to find a middle ground and accept the new normal while negotiating otherwise lawyers will chip away at whatever profits are left. Better to spend it on repainting a new house.