By Mike Stetzer
October 2, 2007 - After 86 days and $13 million spent, the longest divorce trial in the state of Connecticut and perhaps nationally has come to an end; however the emotional damages felt may linger for years to come.
When it comes to what not to do during a divorce, Westport travel magnate Peter Tauck and his now ex-wife Nancy wrote the book. Their contentious Connecticut divorce included allegations from Nancy that her ex-husband possessed child pornography and molested two of his children.
Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone found those allegations to be "false and spurious" in a written ruling awarding the 50-year-old Peter Tauck sole custody of his four children. The 48-year-old Nancy Tauck will be limited at this time to monitored, 10-minute conversations with her children each day and may receive more time if she completes an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program and months of supervised visitation.
Abery-Wetstone described the divorce not in terms of victory but rather as "a tragedy for everyone involved," especially the children. The couple had two children together, ages 5 and 10, and the children had to undergo interviews for sexual abuse and begin therapy because of the false allegations made by Nancy Tauck.
Aberty-Wetstone further revealed in her written ruling that the couple fought hard over every issue during the Connecticut divorce trial, which easily surpassed the state's previous longest divorce case of 37 trial days.
Nancy Tauck was after 55 percent of Peter's approximate $50 million and also seeking $125,000 per month in alimony for 17 years. Instead, Peter Tauck was ordered to pay $33,333 a month for six years and $20,833 each month after that. He will also have to pay his ex-wife $7 million, with $2 million of that going to her divorce attorneys and $1 million being paid to her for the next five years.
Peter Tauck was also ordered to attend at least two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week, continue his treatment for attention deficit disorder, and hire a full-time nanny. Tauck did get to keep the family's $5.7 million Westport home and $3.6 million vacation home in Lake Placid, New York.
An attorney for the couple's children, Gaetain Ferro, declined comment on the case. Peter Tauck's divorce attorney, Tom Colin, said in a story in The Hartford Courant that he was happy that the divorce, which he described as the most contentious that he's ever been involved with, was finally over.
Once again, there are many lessons to be learned from this divorce. To begin with, divorcing couples should never put their ambitions over the emotional welfare of their children. In this case, Nancy Tauck apparently made up a brutal lie that not only ruined her reputation and damaged her ex-husband's but more importantly affected her children negatively. For that, she should be ashamed. All the money in the world can't make up for what she did.
As for Peter Tauck, he doesn't get off the hook easily. While he may have been able to keep most of his fortune, there are no winners in this ugly divorce case of fighting and mudslinging. In fact, there are only losers, with the children unfortunately being the biggest ones for what they were put through by two parents looking to shoot each other down at all costs rather than acting in the best interests of their kids.