Illinois Man Flees to Europe to Get Out of Paying His Ex-Wife

MoneyA former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman would rather leave the country than pay his ex-wife $18 million stemming from a ruling by the judge who presided over the couple’s divorce case.

Patrick Arbor, 76, is thought to have flown in Europe in lieu of making the payments to his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante. Arbor has been less than cooperative throughout the divorce proceedings, as he has repeatedly ignored the judge’s orders. The Cook County judge issued a bench warrant that calls for Arbor to be jailed until he pays nearly $300,000 to his ex wife stemming from a separate ruling.

Arbor was chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1993 to 1999. His ex-wife filed for divorce last year, and the final judgment was issued Tuesday.

Reuters reached Arbor on his cellphone over the weekend, but he declined to speak to his exact whereabouts.

“I can’t talk about [the ruling],” he said. “I’m in Europe. I’m an Italian citizen.”

Sean Sullivan comments

I have handled numerous family law cases, and it typically takes a lot for a domestic relations judge to order someone to jail for contempt. However, they certainly have the power to do so. It typically only occurs in cases where one party to the lawsuit has consistently refused to abide by any rulings or orders of the judge.

My guess is there is more to this story than is being reported here. That said, jail is a possibility even in civil cases. I would never advise any of my clients to willfully disobey a judge’s order and risk infuriating the judge to the point that they would hold you in contempt, wherein the penalty could very well be jail.

Related source: Chicago Tribune

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