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NASCAR chairman's high-asset divorce details revealed

In general, people don't want the details of their divorce made public, but the news organizations take a special interest in marital splits when they involve celebrities or high earners. Racing fans in Texas may have seen headlines about NASCAR chairman Brian French's divorce documents.

The trove of files was unsealed recently, after Brian fought for years to keep the documents private. News groups sought access to the divorce information, claiming it is part of public record. A court agreed and subsequently unsealed the divorce files.

The division of property was particularly complex in this case because the former couple had actually married each other twice -- once in 2001 and again in 2005. After the first divorce in 2004, they drew up a prenuptial agreement, which undoubtedly simplified matters somewhat when the pair divorced again in 2008.

But only months after the second divorce was finalized, Brian sued his ex-wife, saying that she had broken the divorce agreement by violating a confidentiality clause and violating visitation rights (the former spouses have two twins together, along with Megan's daughter from another marriage). According to that lawsuit, Brian was no longer obliged to pay Megan part of her share of the settlement.

She was initially supposed to receive three $3 million payments over three years, but Brian decided to withhold two of those payments because of Megan's alleged actions.

She also is supposed to receive alimony and child support over a 10-year span. The amount of those payments comes to $510,000. Additionally, she kept a multi-million dollar home and a vacant lot valued at $2 million.

Documents from 2005 show that Brian, at that time, had $554 million in assets.

Complex property division of the kind described here takes careful planning. Emotions certainly run high during the divorce process, and divorcing spouses should be aware of their legal options for negotiating a fair settlement and protecting the best interests of any children involved.

Source: Sporting News, "Brian France divorce documents show net worth of NASCAR Chairman," Bob Pockrass, May 9, 2013

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