Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner SHOCK divorce settlement: Bitter legal war meets surprising end with prenup enforced – and estranged wife, 49, would have to repay Yellowstone actor, 68, $1MILLION and his lawyer fees if challenged
Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner’s very bitter divorce has met a shocking end as the two sides have settled with the prenup enforced.
The 68-year-old actor and his 49-year-old wife of nearly 20 years have been embroiled in a months-long legal war which has met a surprise end after DailyMail.com reported that Baumgartner had received more than $400,000 to pay the costs of the contentious courtroom battle.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Costner’s representatives for Costner.
Kevin’s legal team – which was headed by ‘disso queen’ Laura Wasser – had won a series of legal battles leading up to the settlement.
Wasser had recently submitted paperwork to the court saying Kevin’s monthly obligation should be $63K-a-month according to TMZ.
It’s over! Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner ‘s very bitter divorce has met a shocking end as the two sides have settled with the prenup enforced according to TMZ; the former couple are seen in 2206
However, Baumgartner wanted $248K-a-month and after a two-day evidentiary hearing in Santa Barbara earlier this month the Judge Thomas Anderle ultimately sided with Kevin.
Last week DailyMail.com reported that Baumgartner had already received more than $400,000 to pay the costs of her legal battle with the actor.
The mom-of-three was locked in a court fight with her ex over a fresh award of $855,000 to cover fees for the former couple’s upcoming trial over whether the prenuptial agreement they signed 18 years ago can still be enforced.
Baumgartner, 49, has asked for $575,000 to pay her lawyers John Rydell and Susan Wiesner and another $280,000 for her forensic accountant Jill Bombino – which would take the combined total to an eye-watering total of $1.26million.
But documents obtained by DailyMail.com reveal Baumgartner has so far already received $405,000 in legal, attorney, and ‘forensic accounting fees’ – disbursed in July this year.
In an excoriating legal filing lodged in court in Santa Barbara, California, on Tuesday, Costner’s attorney Laura Wasser hit back at the ‘whopping’ request – describing the fees as ‘inflated’ and saying that it would be ‘unconscionable’ for the Yellowstone star to be made to pay.
‘Disso queen’ Wasser also accused Baumgartner of being ‘unreasonable’ and said her constant legal maneuvers – the majority of which have failed – have inflated costs for both parties.
Court filings obtained by DailyMail.com revealed last week Baumgartner – pictured last month – has so far already received $405,000 in legal, attorney, and ‘forensic accounting fees’
Estranged husband Kevin Costner’s attorney Laura Wasser – seen arriving at court with the actor earlier this month – hit back at the request – describing the fees as ‘inflated’ and ‘outrageous’
Baumgartner, 49, is hoping to void the spousal support section of their prenuptial agreement at trial in November so she can be awarded alimony
Last week, Baumgartner found herself on the hook for a payment of $14,000 after Judge Thomas Anderle decided to sanction her for failing to give proper answers to questions from Costner’s legal team.
The setback came shortly after Judge Anderle halved Baumgartner’s monthly child support payments – a decision she later described as a ‘joke’ according to a pal.
The friend told DailyMail.com: ‘Christine is shocked. She said even Kevin looked shocked. Everyone looked shocked.
‘To say Christine is disappointed is an understatement. She described the ruling is a complete joke.’
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Brett Ward, a partner at New York legal firm Blank Rome and an expert in family law, said a party requesting fees isn’t unusual, although the potential size of the award is.
He also said judges tend to take a dim view of what they see as excessive requests and generally want to prevent drawn out cases like the Costner divorce is becoming.
He said: ‘There is certainly a legal basis for [Baumgartner’s] request. However, a judge will examine the reasonableness of the fees requested.
‘Judges generally do not want to encourage additional litigation by providing one side with a war chest of future legal fees.
In an excoriating legal filing lodged in court in Santa Barbara, California , on Tuesday, Costner’s attorney Laura Wasser hit back at the ‘whopping’ request
‘Courts generally balance the less wealthy party’s right to carry on the litigation in a fair manner against the concern that a party with a significant fee award will take that money and use it to make every possible argument available, no matter the merit or lack thereof for each claim.’
Ward said the enormous legal bills the pair are racking up are unusual in family court but added that much of the money can be explained by the value of the assets being wrangled over and expects the eventual tab to be much higher.
He said: ‘At this pace, and without a settlement in the near future, I would not be surprised if the combined legal fees approach or exceed $5 million.’
Much of Baumgartner’s testimony during the evidentiary hearing had hinged on her being able to provide a lavish lifestyle for her three children comparable to that they enjoy while with their father.
Despite renting a $40,000-a-month property in tony Montecito, Baumgartner said her new home is inadequate because sons Cayden, 16, and Hayes, 14, would have to share a bathroom while daughter Grace, 13, would need ‘to share hers with the house’.
The mom-of-three had been enjoying a temporary monthly payment of $129,000 and had wanted it bumped to $161,000
DailyMail.com previously revealed that Baumgartner, 49, moved into the luxury four-bedroom home on Friday – after a judge in Santa Barbara, California, slashed her child support payments
In July Baumgartner was court-ordered to vacate the former couple’s $145million lavish California mansion
She also bemoaned the pool house guest accommodation – saying visitors would need to come into the main house to shower – and hit out at the lack of beach access to which her children are accustomed.
In his testimony, Costner said the property was comparable to his own luxury home in nearby Carpinteria and said it even has features he would like in his own house.
According to the mom-of-three’s friend, her objections also include her being ‘removed’ from the community she had enjoyed while living with Costner.
The friend added: ‘Christine said they [Costner and his legal team] painted the picture of this shallow, greedy gold-digger and that if Kevin could get past his anger and revenge, he would see how this is hurting their kids.
‘She said Kevin is ripping her apart from her community by making it impossible to live in the tight-knit neighborhood. ‘Christine said this was never about beach views and Kevin knows this. He knows how much the community means to Christine, and that this is his way of punishing her.
Estranged wife Christine Baumgartner, who appeared via Zoom on Wednesday, was ordered to pay a $14,000 fine after she failed to explain on why her prenup should be voided
‘Christine said the fight is far from over.’
The court also heard details of the family’s lavish spending – which totaled $240,000-a-month in 2022.
Expenses included $40,000 spent each month on flowers and gifts alone, although Costner’s forensic accountant Tracy Katz pointed out the figure is for the entire family, including Baumgartner.
Katz said the 49-year-old was responsible for a host of big-ticket items, including $18,000-a-month on medical bills, $18,855 on clothing and $3,377 on beauty treatments.
On top of that, Baumgartner was responsible for the lion’s share of the $8,886 in cash taken out at ATM machines according to Katz.