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High-Asset Divorce Case Focused on Support, Business Earnings

In a truly high-asset divorce, the predominant story line is obviously about the numbers.

Big numbers. In the divorce case between Charles and Linda Brandes that is currently playing out in San Diego Superior Family Court, really big numbers.

The couple -- married for more than 18 years and divorced in July 2005 -- continues to feud over assets and, given that they were once the richest couple in the county, those assets are considerable.

When they first met nearly 30 years ago, Charles Brandes was already making about $150,000 a year as a money manager. At the time of their divorce, his net worth was estimated at about $1.5 billion.

Linda Brandes would like a far bigger piece of that than what she already has. Although her fortune is valued at close to $100 million, and augmented monthly by an additional $500,000 in spousal support, she wants that latter figure increased to $750,000 per month. She also wants a piece of an investment company that she says Charles partially acquired during the couple's marriage.

Her portion of that alone would come to about $140 million. California is a community property state, where half of any property acquired by Charles during the marriage would be hers. She claims it is community property. Charles, unsurprisingly, argues otherwise. "My company," he says simply. "I own it."

When challenged by one of Charles' lawyers that she doesn't have any idea of the amount of money she spends, or on what, Linda Brandes replied in court that, "I don't keep track of things like that."

Final arguments in the dispute are expected to continue well into the summer months.

Related Resource: The San Diego Union-Tribune "Brandes v. Brandes: Testimony ends, but no end in sight" March 23, 2011

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