Though typically utilized as the final conclusion to divorce proceedings, divorce settlements are not necessarily as concrete as they are often perceived to be, whether in Illinois or elsewhere. Although actor Terrence Howard divorced his wife several years ago, the couple are now back in court over allegations that their divorce settlement was not entirely fair. According to Howard, Michelle Ghent — his ex-wife — threatened to release unfavorable details to the public if he refused to agree to their current divorce agreement.
The couple finalized their divorce in 2012, but according to Howard, the agreement was anything but mutually beneficial. Per the terms of the settlement, Ghent was handed over ownership of multiple bank accounts while Howard was burdened with the majority of the couple’s debt. He was also left with the responsibility to pay off tax debt.
In his complaint, Howard alleges that Ghent made several threats, including intimate details concerning his sex life and various affairs in which he supposedly engaged. Ghent is also believed to be in possession of a video that depicts Howard singing in the nude while in a bathroom. Ghent countered those allegations with a claim that Howard had been violent towards her over the course of their marriage.
While post-divorce modifications typically involve child custody, support or alimony agreements, the divorce settlement itself can also be changed under certain circumstances. Agreements that are signed under duress or by coercion or fraud can be invalidated in Illinois, although that claim must first be proved. Whether the complaint involves a prenuptial agreement, divorce settlement or anything in between, if a person believes that an agreement is unfair or wrong, filing a petition for legal relief is typically the first step in seeking a formal modification.
Source: NBC New York, “Terrence Howard in Court Trying to Undo Divorce Agreement“, Anthony McCartney, Aug. 12, 2015