McMahan v. McMahan

Often hard to believe, the ongoing divorce battle between Bruce McMahan and Elena McMahan has numerous angles. Bruce and Elena met on a cruise ship where he was a patron and she was working as a bartender. He was a wealthy Wall Street executive in his mid-sixties; she was a Ukrainian immigrant in her early thirties. For Bruce, this was his fifth marriage, with three of the previous four marriages ending in divorce. For Elena, however, this marriage was her first. Bruce had seven children at the time, six from three of his previous marriages and one child born out of wedlock from a fling he had in the late 1960s. Elena did not have any children at the time.

They married in 2002 and split in late 2004. Bruce filed for divorce in January 2005. The marriage produced two children, a boy named Vladimir and a girl named Elizabeth.

Bruce has an eccentric side, which came out through the divorce proceedings. Reportedly, Bruce and his daughter Linda were engaging in an incestuous, sexual affair while Bruce was married to Elena.

The So-ordered Stipulation

Bruce, as mentioned, is very litigious. As such, he uses his cash to fight Elena through the courts. Under the parties’ so-ordered stipulation, Bruce has legal and physical custody of the parties’ children and may take them with him to Florida. In the meantime, Elena agreed to undergo therapy to address issues related to childrearing. The New York Supreme Court is hearing their case and will evaluate Elena’s therapy every 90 days to determine her progress. The goal of these evaluations is for Bruce and Elena to eventually have joint legal and physical custody of their two children.

Nonetheless, Bruce has hampered Elena’s ability to see her children. Bruce moved the children to Florida, making Elena’s visitation difficult. Moreover, when Elena flew to Florida to see the children, Bruce made it difficult for her. For instance, he insisted on the children showering after going to the beach with their mother, further taking time from her visitation, despite such requirement not being part of the stipulation.

Moreover, Bruce sought to further alienate the children from their mother by unduly influencing the court-appointed psychologist to ignore Elena’s progress in therapy, thereby prejudicing the court against her. Another example is Bruce seeking to move custody issues to a Florida court, even though the stipulation states otherwise.

Elena filed a motion in the New York Supreme Court to modify the stipulation for settlement. A modification would have provided clarity, thereby disallowing Bruce to use his superior financial position to influence the courts. The Court rejected her motion. She appealed.

The Appeal

Upon an October 2013 appeal, where Yonatan Levoritz represented Elena, the Appellate Court rejected Elena’s motion, stating that although she presented new facts, those facts would not change the lower court’s ruling. Tragically, despite providing the court with pertinent information, the appeal was rejected.

If you are involved in a divorce proceeding, contact the law office of Yonatan S. Levoritz, an experienced and successful litigator.