Monday, August 17, 2009

Divorce - Be Prepared for Changing Circumstances

Things change. Drafting divorce agreements needs to take into account the possibility of unexpected changes. Although, maybe not as extreme as set out in's Steven Pumper asks court to dissolve $3 million divorce deal

Steven Pumper, who is headed to prison for crimes related to the Cuyahoga County corruption case, says he never would have signed a $3 million divorce deal had he known he was the target of an FBI investigation.

Pumper has filed papers in Domestic Relations Court asking a judge to tear up his divorce decree, which he agreed to in July 2008.

The settlement required Pumper to split his $6 million estate with his wife of 19 years, Darlene.

But that is money Pumper said he doesn't have anymore due to a crash in the economy and the hit that bad publicity from the corruption probe has dealt to his former company, D-A-S Construction of Garfield Heights.

"Had [Pumper] anticipated his being named as a target in the probe of Cuyahoga County officials, he certainly would not have voluntarily entered into a deal which he would be incapable of performing," attorney Margaret Stanard wrote in a motion filed last month.

Darlene Pumper maintains that her ex-husband knew at least two months before he signed the divorce settlement that he was the target of a federal investigation.

Her lawyer, Vincent Stafford, cited Pumper's federal plea agreement, in which he admitted being interviewed by FBI agents on May 23, 2008, and of communicating with assistant U.S. attorneys on May 26 and May 29.
Pessimists always have pleasant surprises, optimists only have unpleasant ones.

Not having a clue about Ohio divorce law, I cannot comment on the likelihood of Mr. Pumper's motion. Indiana gives short shrift to any change to a property division after the Final Hearing. In Indiana, Mr. Pumper would need to show that there was fraud involved and in case like this he would have to show that he was the one who committed the fraud on the court. Anyone else think that scenario approaches the surrealistic?


Robert Mues said...

Greetings from Dayton, Ohio. I agree...surreal! I don't practice family law in Cleveland BUT knowing Ohio law, I seriously doubt he will get too far. Everyday I am amazed at some of the stuff that gets filed in Court.

Sam Hasler said...

Ah, but it does keeps us on our toes - or something like that.