Domestic Relations: Divorce, Greek Style

Death and taxes are unavoidable. For most people, marriage and taxes seem equally inescapable. Not for tempestuous Soprano Maria Callas. By signing her name to a piece of paper in the American embassy in Paris and renouncing her U.S. citizenship, she shed not only her husband but a hefty potential tax obligation as well.

Maria's legal triumph over finance and wedlock was based largely on an accident of birth. Her parents were Greek, but she was born in New York, which made her a citizen of both Greece and the U.S.—a combination that to Maria, at least, seemed to offer...

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