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Judges Orders Release of Divorce Documents for NASCAR's Wealthy CEO

Published on 01/07/2013 -


This week, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed an order by a lower court requiring the release of unsealed documents in a divorce case between the CEO of NASCAR and his wife, according to the Washington Post.

Sources say Brian France, the chairman and CEO of NASCAR, settled a divorce with his wife, Megan France, in 2008, and has fought tooth and nail for four years to keep the details of his divorce out of the public eye.

But a 2011 court ruling said that the public’s right to view public court proceedings was more important than France’s desire for secrecy, and that opinion has been confirmed.

Leader of NASCAR Marries and Divorces Same Woman Twice

Nothing about the divorce between Brian and Megan France was routine. To start, their latest marriage divorce represents their second trip through such a cycle, according to sources.

And rather than negotiating divorce terms behind closed doors, the couple chose to air their grievances in court, which renders the details of the divorce available for public viewing under North Carolina law.

This is why many celebrities and other public figures opt for mediation or choose to negotiate in private. Both of these measures usually protect the details of a divorce from the public eye.

The Frances, however, opted for a court battle, which allows the public to view their dirty laundry. Sources say, for example, that the 2008 separation agreement gave Megan France a lump sum payment of $9 million, which reveals the vast extent of her husband’s wealth.

In addition, Megan France is expected to receive alimony payments of $32,000 per month for 10 years, as well as $10,000 per month for child support payments. The child support will likely last at least until the couple’s children reach the age of majority.

Divorce Ruling Upholds Public Availability of Divorce Trial Records

Despite the usual availability of divorce records to the public, North Carolina laws do allow judges to use their discretion to seal divorce documents in trials involving public figures.

A trial court judge, however, chose not to use this discretionary power, and initially ruled that France’s divorce records should not be sealed.

Upset that his financial information would be released to the public, France and his divorce attorney appealed to the appellate level, but the higher court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Under the recent ruling, France will be treated like any other citizen who obtains a divorce through a trial. And that, according to many observers, is a good thing.

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