A divorced Russian couple recently made headlines after they split their expensive mansion in half with a brick wall, which left the ex-wife unable to access the upper floors on her half because the stairway is on her former partner’s side.
After their divorce, Margareta Tsvitnenko, 45, and her former spouse, Sergei, were ordered to split the three-storey property in half. They have been in several legal battles since they decided to break up, in 2010, and the woman claims that Sergei has tried to force her and their 12-year-old disabled son out of the house several times, by disabling the heating system during winter time. But recently, he came up with a new, more effective way of causing her trouble. After the court approved his request to separate his side of the mansion with a wall, he quickly brought in a team of workers who bricked up all connecting doors and other access areas including the only staircase to the upper floors.
According to the legal expert who measured the mansion and decided which rooms belonged to each of the former spouses, the stairway was on Sergei’s side of the house and he recently moved to restrict Margareta’s access to it. She claims that she and her son were having breakfast one morning, when construction workers accompanied by a court official showed up and proceeded to split the house down the middle with a thick brick wall. When he showed the men a court decision giving her until March 17, 2017 to build a separate staircase, they just shrugged and said that her former husband was free to do whatever he wanted on his side.
Margareta says the workers didn’t even care that a friend of her’s was sleeping in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and just walled up the stairs without first allowing her to wake the woman up. She ended up completely walled in and Tsvitnenko had to call the police to evacuate her. A squad from the Ministry of Emergencies arrived on the scene and had to use a ladder to get the woman out from the third floor bedroom, an operation that took hours to complete.
“Me and my son were downstairs when it was happening, but my friend was asleep in one of the bedrooms upstairs. So she got blocked, marooned there. She couldn’t’ get down, it was too dangerous because of the height,” Margareta told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. “I called the police and they called emergency services and they brought a long ladder. So my friend who was stuck there for several hours before she finally managed to get out.”
Unfortunately for the former Mrs. Tsvitnenko, she needs to sue her husband in order to get a court order to demolish the wall, and after spending the last six years in legal battles, it’s not something she wants to pursue. At the same time, the woman claims she currently lacks the financial resources to build her own set of stairs, so for the time being she is locked out of the upper floors of her half of the mansion.
Meanwhile, Sergei Tsivtnenko has unrestricted access to his side of the house, but hardly ever comes by anymore, as he lives in an apartment with his new wife.
You’re probably wondering why the two former spouses don’t just sell the mansion and get it over with? Reporters from the Komsomolskaya Pravda asked Margareta this exact same question, to which she answered that the Russian real estate market is in crisis, and they just wouldn’t get a fair price for it. “Neither of us wants a bad deal,” she added. At least they agree on something.