Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This week, while politicians argue over amnesty and border fences, an immigrant couple in Chicago is providing a reminder of why America used to be called the Land of Opportunity.

A divorce court judge ordered Michael and Maya Polsky, who came here from the Soviet Union in 1976 with $500, to share equally their family assets of $350 million. In those three decades the Polskys, in addition to paying taxes on their accumulating fortune, had donated $7 million to the University of Chicago to start a school for entrepreneurs.

That sounds like a contribution to American society that social conservatives might applaud, despite the fact that the Polskys are offending their family values with a divorce.

In 1989, my wife, who is a divorce lawyer and mediator, and I wrote a book titled, “Getting Your Share,” for wives who were being declared equal partners by new divorce laws but were not being treated that way by courts.

Mrs. Polsky, who was a full-time homemaker during her marriage, is setting some kind of record as an exception to that rule.

Meanwhile Mr. Polsky, who made his mark with power companies and now deals in alternative energy, will be appealing the decision to avoid seeing half his fortune Gone with the Wind.

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