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Court opens divorce file of NASCAR chief

Marylanders who are fans of stock car racing may be interested to learn that a court has recently opened the divorce case of NASCAR chief Brian France. While the court had originally sealed the divorce case, it opened the case at the request of a media outlet, citing the public's interest in knowing what transpired within the walls of the judicial system.

The divorce filings give the public a view of the anatomy of a high net worth divorce. As a Howard County divorce lawyer would probably agree, high net worth divorces can be complicated affairs. In this case, the original divorce settlement had divided several homes and cars, as well as multiple business assets. The settlement was unusually precise in covering the couple's agreement about child custody; for example, the agreement requires that the couple's twins be raised in a particular county.

In the original agreement, France was to pay $9 million to his ex-wife, as well as over $500,000 a year for the next 10 years. The $500,000 payment covers both child support and alimony.

This case came in to public view after France received permission to file a complaint under seal that his ex-wife had violated the settlement. France filed the complaint after withholding $6 million of his $9 million payment, placing the money into a separate fund instead.

Settling a high net worth divorce can be very tricky, and, as this case illustrates, there is strong potential for disagreements about the terms of the settlement following the divorce, perhaps because the financial stakes are often so high. A person with substantial wealth who is going through a divorce will likely want the advice of an experienced Maryland divorce attorney who is knowledgeable about handling large marital estates.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, "Court opens divorce documents for NASCAR's Brian France," Ames Alexander, May 8, 2013.

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