The latest round of wildest and wildest Palm Beach breakups has gone to the pair.
Women may lose a long-running battle to maintain permanent alimony in Florida
Opponents describe the relationship of investors among political action committees to tip the bill in favor of wealthy men
James Cole, Democrat from Tallahassee
West Palm Beach – Abby Haroffee He is unhappily married and does everything he can to stay that way.
He and Giovanna Stephenson are not your typical bitchy couple. the Palm Beach Couples trade insults across the courtroom, and are better off paying a famous lawyer to settle their disputes than a marriage counselor. Each step, carefully coordinated and generously funded, moves the couple one step closer to ending their relationship – in principle, but not on paper.
They both have a $60 million incentive to stay married, thanks to what one lawyer described as the most “crazy” prenuptial agreement he’d ever seen. With Stevenson unwilling to part with the money, she enlisted lawyers to find other ways to dissolve their marriage.
judge in West Palm Beach Her last bid was crushed in July when she refused an unusual request for alimony and child support from a man to whom she is still married. Stevenson has vowed to appeal the decision while she fights a counterclaim from her husband. He wants her to pay for his accusation of abuse that his lawyer says never happened.
“There has to be some kind of accountability for what happened to me,” Harofey said.
The husband says the prenuptial period poisoned the relationship between the Palm Beach couple
Stephenson accused her husband of domestic battery in 2021, starting the first of many legal battles with the couple’s children, finances and real estate at stake. The court has ordered Harvey to stay out of the house and away from his children while authorities investigate Stephenson’s allegations that he scratched her during a fight on December 9, 2021.
Stevenson described her husband as a heavy drinker who was physically and emotionally cruel, but Harovy’s lawyer said she made up the allegations to take advantage of the couple’s prenuptial agreement.
A penalty clause is included in the marriage contract. If Haruvi cheats on Stevenson, abuses her, or just wants to be single again, she gets the couple’s $50 million home and another $10 million in cash and assets. If he doesn’t, and she divorces him anyway, the $60 million package is gone.
“You’ll never see a case like this again,” Haroffey’s attorney, Geoff Fisher, said. “It’s a unicorn.”
While the domestic battery case worked its way through criminal court, Stephenson filed a separate suit in civil court seeking to have the Haruvi removed from their waterfront mansion and away from their children indefinitely. Stephenson enlisted their 9-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter to write letters to the judge describing the bruises on their mother’s arm and relating to their father’s behavior.
The eldest son wrote: “My father yells at her a lot without any reason, and always attacks her and calls her really terrible things.” “He also cancels her credit card when he wants to threaten her.”
Two Palm Beach County judges and one jury are with the husband against the wife
Circuit Judge Melanie Sohrber denied Stevenson’s request to make the temporary restraining order against Harofey permanent in March 2022, citing the wife’s “ever-changing” testimony. Her allegations alone imply that her husband violated the terms of the prenuptial agreement.
Neither this, nor her application for alimony and child support on the grounds that Haruvi did not support the lavish lifestyle to which Stephenson was accustomed, was successful.
“This is not a case where the husband financially or otherwise abandoned his wife and children, nor is it a case of failure to provide for them,” Circuit Court Judge Darren Scholl wrote. “Instead, the husband was initially forced out of his home…on the wife’s allegation of domestic beating, which she could not prove either by clear and convincing evidence at the hearing for the Domestic Violence Order, or beyond reasonable doubt in the criminal case.
Harofey accused his wife of malicious prosecution in a separate suit and seeks damages of more than $1 million. However, he did not lose hope that the pair would mend their relationship before ending it. They were in love once, after all.
“I really believe that time can heal everyone,” he said.
There’s $60 million at stake if that doesn’t happen.
Hannah Phillips is a journalist covering public safety and criminal justice issues for the Palm Beach Post. You can access it at firstname.lastname@example.org.