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Supreme Court Upholds $2.5 Million Disparity in Divorce Contract

The equitable distribution in a divorce agreement is not disturbed by the RI Suprme Court dispite a $2.5 Million dollar discrepancy.  The husband owned a 25% interest in a company. The Court appointed an appraiser for the husband's interest.  The appriased value was $2.9 million dollars.  The parties entered into a settlement agreement for the equitable distribution of their assets based upon that appraisal. They signed the agreement and testified to their approval of the agreement in March 2007 and the Court sanctioned the agreement.

In August 2007, before the entry of the Final Judgment, the husband learned that his interest in the business increased by $2.5 milion because a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway was going to purchase the company.  He did not inform the wife.  On October 31, 2007, the Final Judgment was entered.  On November 13, 2007, the sale went through.

Of course, upon learning of the sale, the wife sought to have the settlement agreement modified.  The divorce court failed to adjust the settlement since at the time they entered the agreement and appeared in Court, the appraised amount was accepted and thus there was no mutual mistake of fact.  Only later did the value change because of the impending purchase.  The Supreme Court refused to set aside the agreement of the parties and upheld trial Judge Raymond Shawcross.

The Supreme Court did remind all lawyers that until the entry of a final judgment in a divorce action, spouses have a continuing duty to disclose changes in their financial circumstances.

If you are considering separation and divorce, Steven J. Hirsch can represent your interests in court or work with you and your spouse as a mediator in order to reach a confidential settlement based upon what the parties believe is in their best interest.

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