Family Law

$13M attorney fee in clergy abuse case is at center of 'epic' divorce fight

The lead lawyer who helped obtain a $660 million clergy abuse settlement in Los Angeles is now engaged in a long-running legal battle with his former spouse over her right to a split of his attorney fees in the case, estimated at $13 million.

Lawyer Ray Boucher estimates the divorce case has cost $8 million in legal bills, leading to his decision to file bankruptcy last year, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the story, the five-year legal fight has been “epic even by L.A. standards.”

Under California law, Boucher’s former wife is entitled to half his earnings during their 10-year marriage, the story says. The legal dispute is over the portion of attorney fees in the sex-abuse case that is attributable to money earned after the couple separated in 2007. Boucher’s ex-wife, Christine Roberts, left him in 2007 soon after announcement of the settlement with the Catholic archdiocese.

Boucher vs. Boucher has all the usual elements of a nasty split: restraining orders, allegations of infidelity, public screaming matches,” the story says. “The real conflict, however, is over what [Roberts’] attorneys have called ‘the single largest asset’ of the marriage: the clergy fees.”

The bankruptcy case has been stayed pending a resolution in the divorce dispute. A judge is expected to issue a decision on the fees this spring, though other issues remain.

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