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Family law appeals: The Stephenson's divorce

The divorce process is not always easy to get through. Sometimes it takes more time than one would expect. And sometimes reaching an agreement without a judge's intervention is just not possible. When things go down this way, it is normal to question if one really achieved the best settlement possible. Ohio residents who believe they got the short of the stick in their court-decided family law cases may file appeals -- just like in the Stephenson divorce case.

Alicia Stephenson is the former spouse of Richard Stephenson -- the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In 2009, after 20 years of marriage, Mrs. Stephenson filed for divorce. The couple worked for years trying to negotiate a fair settlement in regard to spousal maintenance and property division but were unsuccessful in doing so. Their case finally went to court and a judge ultimately awarded Mrs. Stephenson roughly $55,000 per month in alimony and a lump sum payment of $6.5 million.

While this is certainly enough for most people to live on, Alicia believes that her share of the marital assets was undervalued. A prenuptial agreement was in place and upheld in court, but it allowed her to seek what she felt was fair in regard to alimony. She initially requested $400,000 per month so that she could maintain the same type of lifestyle she had during her marriage. What the judge awarded was far less than what she requested. Because of this she filed to appeal the ruling.

While most Ohio residents won't be dealing with multimillion dollar assets or have jet-setting lifestyles to maintain when figuring out their divorce settlements, what they do have and the final agreements reached can make or break their transitions into post-divorce life. Those whose cases go to court and are decided by a judge may feel they have no say in the matter, but this is not necessarily true. It is possible to appeal family law rulings if doing so is believed in one's best interests.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Ex-wife of Cancer Treatment Centers founder appeals multimillion-dollar divorce ruling", Amanda Marrazzo, Dec. 14, 2017

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