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Worth Avenue Real Estate Magnates to Divorce After 67 Years

After being married for nearly seven decades, the thought of divorce would seem unimaginable to many. However, for Lucille Handlesman and her husband of 67 years, Burt Handlesman, the unimaginable is now a reality. Prior to Lucille Handlesman filing for divorce, it is safe to say that along with her husband they were the epitome of the American dream. Together the couple built an immensely successful real estate business in Palm Beach and several other locations on the east coast. The properties the Handlesmans owned are worth an estimated $750 million.

Lucille, also known as Lovey, claimed in a deposition that she felt compelled to divorce her husband because he was unfaithful and cheating on her with 61-year old Jane Rankin, a longtime family friend and Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney who helped the Handelsmans build their family business in Palm Beach. She also accused her husband Burt of becoming verbally abusive.

“He gets very belligerent and he starts to yell, ‘You don’t know anything. You haven’t worked a day in your life. Get out of my life,’” said Lovey who is crippled by arthritis and uses a wheelchair to get around. “I can’t handle it anymore. I said, ‘You know something, it’s time to quit.’”

Worth Avenue Real Estate Magnates to Divorce After 67 Years

As if the process of filing for divorce was not enough of a shock to many onlookers, Burt Handlesman also sued his three adult children. He claimed his children, all in their 60s, took money from companies and convinced their mother to go through with the divorce to make money for themselves. Mr. Handlesman was sued in kind by his three children, claiming their father gypped them out of $8 million.

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Earlier this month, Judge Scott Suskauer who is presiding over the case, refused to put Burt back in charge of about 25 properties his children were managing, calling the document a “sham”. It was noted that the document even contained wite-out on portions of it. A monthlong trial for the terms of the divorce is scheduled for February. However, due to their advanced ages, the question is whether the couple will live and see their divorce finalized. As yet, Lovey and the children have already won a significant round in the battle.

Many people are curious about this case of divorce because the Handlesman family owns a substantial amount of land on Worth Avenue and other storefront properties located in high rent districts like Delray Beach on Atlantic Avenue, West Palm Beach, the Florida Keys, and even as far as New York.   

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