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High Asset divorces may be inherently more contentious

Families in Delaware, Ohio, can quickly and dramatically become divided by divorce. It has happened to parents and children in the past and will continue to occur, with an increased likelihood for contention when a large amount of money is involved. That is what happened in the divorce of NASCAR CEO, Brian France. His High Asset divorce was kept under wraps for several years before an appeals court decided that the documents should be unsealed. That's why approximately 3,000 pages regarding the divorce were recently released.

France and his wife were originally married in 2001. Three years later, they divorced for the first time but got remarried in 2005. Their second divorce was finalized in 2008, the details of which had been kept secret until several news organizations went to court to have the divorce documents unsealed. This eventually revealed the financial details of France and the divorce settlement that he and his wife agreed to. It also allowed several contentious details to be shown to the public.

According to a 2005 financial statement, France had $564 million in assets and was expecting to inherit a sum near, at, or above $1 billion from his parents. His massive amount of wealth--and his beliefs that his wife was unnecessarily spending his money--may have caused his divorce to become as dramatic as it was. The settlement during the 2008 divorce included $10,000 per month in child support for the twins that were born in 2006. It also included spousal support of $32,000 per month and a lump sum of $9 million.

But the ex-wife said that France continued to fight even after the settlement had been agreed to. This is evidenced by his failure to make a $3 million payment that was due in 2009 and the mother's statement in an affidavit from 2011 that indicates he wants her and the children to be available to him whenever he asks. The complex divorce may still have issues, even though he is now remarried. It is likely that such complicated cases could not be completed without the help of a lawyer.

Source:  Post-Gazette, "Court documents unsealed in NASCAR chief's divorce" Mitch Weiss, May. 13, 2013

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