Kevin Costner and his estranged wife Christine Baumgartner are in the midst of bitter divorce procedures. Baumgartner believes she owes her divorce lawyers more than $300,000 in fees and costs, according to court filings filed this week, shedding new light on the contentious divorce proceedings between the exes.
Baumgartner’s claim that Costner owes her six figures in legal fees is at odds with the actor’s legal team, who recently called Baumgartner’s demand that Costner pay $885,000 of her attorney fees “nothing short of outrageous.”
Entertainment Tonight reports that Baumgartner’s attorneys have said that their client originally asked Costner for $855,000, but that more than $300,000 of that amount reflects fees Baumgartner now owes rather than future charges.
The legal team for the handbag designer added that the remaining $541,887 would be used to cover the costs of continuing to fight her ex in court. They want that by September 21st, Costner pay $855,000 to cover Baumgartner’s current and future divorce lawsuit legal fees.
As of July, the “Yellowstone” singer had already sent over $300,000 to his soon-to-be ex-wife’s legal team in legal bills. Baumgartner, on the other hand, argues that Costner has greatly outspent her in the divorce so far, spending over $850,000 on his own counsel.
Her attorneys claim the actor had piled up $644,000 in fees by the end of July, implying he was spending roughly twice as much on legal representation as Baumgartner.
Both parties in a divorce in California are entitled to qualified legal representation and the fees associated with such representation must be divided fairly under the state’s Family Code.
Baumgartner’s lawyers say her ex-husband has violated the “level playing field” principle by spending significantly more than their client over the past few months. They claim he has had an unfair advantage in the case thus far due to his higher financial resources.
In response, Costner’s legal team claims that the actor has had to spend more money defending himself than he had planned because of Baumgartner’s “uncooperative conduct” during the divorce. They argue that the court should not base fee awards on the amount spent by either side.
The former couple has been fighting over money and custody of their three children. After Baumgartner asked for $144,000 to cover regular expenditures, a judge recently ordered Costner to pay her $13,400 per month in temporary child support. The parties have a hearing scheduled for this coming November to discuss long-term money matters.
“Dances with Wolves” Oscar winner and Baumgartner met at a golf event in the 1990s. Baumgartner was a former model. Their relationship didn’t start till they ran across each other again in 1998. In 2004, they tied the knot at Costner’s Aspen, Colorado ranch.
Baumgartner helped take care of Costner’s kids from previous marriages during their marriage, despite being nearly two decades younger than her 67-year-old spouse. To date, Costner has fathered seven children with various women.
The actor has been married three times and has three grown children from his previous marriages to Cindy Silva (for 16 years) and bridal designer Christine Baumgartner.
After 18 years of marriage, the couple finally decided to file for divorce in May, and since then, tensions have only increased. Baumgartner said that Costner squandered money from their business joint accounts on extravagant spending and travel at the end of August.
Costner’s representatives have denied the allegations, stating the actor had made merely routine purchases for his home.
Baumgartner has lately requested the court to grant her primary custody of the couple’s two youngest children, ages 12 and 15, based on allegations that Costner was controlling throughout their marriage. Meanwhile, Costner plans to have shared parental responsibilities equally.
The movie star’s lawyers have depicted Baumgartner’s requests for legal fees as excessive, but Baumgartner’s camp has argued that the figures are actually rather reasonable when compared to Costner’s own massive legal spending.
Her attorneys say that the protracted nature of celebrity divorces can cost millions.
The only evident winners so far have been the divorce lawyers representing the former couple as they continue to fling accusations and battle over funds, custody, and legal expenses.
Costner and Baumgartner appear destined to keep their attorneys busy billing lengthy hours as their pricey and bitter breakup escalates without any sign of a settlement in sight.