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Nascar CEO's high asset divorce back in the news

Missouri residents who follow NASCAR likely know about NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. But rather than something that happened on the track, France is in the news for a different reason: his high net worth divorce.

France and his wife divorced in 2008, but the case recently reheated, forcing an appellate court to weigh in. The appellate court had to decide whether to overrule a previous ruling, which permitted unsealing documents from France's bitter divorce. In 2011, it had concluded that the public's right to public court proceedings trumped France's interest in keeping the details of his divorce secret. A lower court then applied the ruling, which France appealed. Affirming the 2011 ruling, the appellate court held that the earlier ruling was valid.

Based on statements made by lawyers in court, under the separation agreement France's wife received $9 million, as well as $32,000 per month in alimony through 2018 and $10,000 per month in child support.

Those sums highlight the stakes involved in a high net worth divorce. Splitting assets in these cases include not only typical issues like child and spousal support, but also shared businesses, investments and intellectual property.

At the same time, property division is often unpredictable. Therefore, couples embroiled in a high asset divorce may want to work things out between each other. That means the spouses should each sit down and figure out what assets really matter to them and which items they would give up to get their preferred assets. For instance, one spouse may want to keep the business and decide to trade the family home in exchange for receiving ownership of the business.

While divorce cannot guarantee that a spouse will receive a certain portion of the high-stakes assets, an experienced family law attorney can help the spouse articulate what he or she wants and come to an amicable agreement with the other spouse.

Source: The Associated Press, "Court upholds order on NASCAR CEO's divorce case," Michael Biesecker, Dec. 31, 2012

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