In 1987, Michael Douglas starred as the infamous Gordon Gekko in the hit movie, "Wall Street." Gekko had an uncanny talent for separating people from their money. Now, Douglas's ex-wife, Diandra, would like to separate Michael Douglas from some of his Gordon Gekko money. From 1977 to 2000, Michael and Diandra were married and they had one child together. In 2000, they divorced and as part of their settlement agreement Michael agreed to pay Diandra half of all the proceeds from film, television, and stage performances he did during their marriage. Diandra would also argue that she is entitled to half of any income related to those performances.

As a result, she has sued Michael Douglas for half of his earnings from the sequel to "Wall Street" made this year, "Wall Street: Greed Never Sleeps." After all, Michael starred in the original while they were married and he reprised his role as Gordon Gekko in this year's film. Had the role of Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film gone to another 1980s actor like Tom Selleck as Gekko P.I. or Harrison Ford as Indiana Gekko, Michael Douglas would not have been offered the role in the 2010 sequel.

Michael Douglas takes the position that Diandra is not entitled to earnings from post-divorce movies, whether they are sequels or not. Earlier this month Diandra's lawsuit was dismissed, but this will not be the end of the story.

Although they were divorced in California, Diandra filed her lawsuit in New York. A New York judge ruled that California was the proper place for the lawsuit because California has more familiarity with the legal and factual issues on the Douglas divorce. It is important to point out that this dismissal is not a decision on the merits of Diandra's claim, so she will be able to re-file her lawsuit in a California court.

As this story demonstrates, property division in divorce can be one of the most complex issues to resolve. The Douglas divorce was finalized in 2000, yet they are still arguing over marital property division. Ultimate resolution on this issue is going to have to wait until a California court has its say. All indications are that the decision will depend on an interpretation of California's unique marital property laws and the language in the Douglas's settlement agreement.

Source: Bloomberg: Michael Douglas Ex-Wife's 'Wall Street' Suit Is Tossed Over Venue Issue; Karen Freifeld, 11/15/2010