Devil in the Details

In Blanchard v. Blanchard, 2012-0106, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal considered a divorced wife’s contention that the lawyers for a divorced husband had improperly calculated her agreed share of his personal injury settlement proceeds. Mrs. Blanchard contended that she was entitled to 1/3rd of the gross settlement proceeds of $500,000. Mr. Blanchard and his attorneys contended that she was only entitled to receive $24,481.24, one third of the net proceeds after fees, costs, a Medicare “set aside”, and advanced living expenses. The trial court dismissed Mrs. Blanchard’s lawsuit but the Court of Appeal concluded that she had stated a cause of action and had the right to sue her former husband and his attorneys. This case teaches a valuable lesson – make sure that the lawyer handling your community property settlement agreement does a good job on the details or you may wind up wasting time and money arguing about them later.

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