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Terrence Howard's divorce settlement overturned

Many Texas residents are fans of the Fox television series "Empire," which is set to begin a second season this fall. One of the actors on that show, Terrence Howard, has been making recent headlines not for his work on the hit show, but over an unusual ruling in his divorce case. While Howard and his former wife divorced in 2012, their divorce settlement was recently overturned when a judge found that the settlement was reached under duress.

Howard claimed that his former wife threatened to release private information to the media if she did not receive the settlement terms she sought. The information supposedly included recordings of Howard having sexually oriented phone conversations with other women, as well as a video recording of him dancing nude. Because her attorneys did not file a sworn declaration prior to the recent hearing, Howard's ex wife was not allowed to testify in court.

The judge listened to a recorded call in which Howard's wife demanded a payment of $40,000 to avoid the release of sensitive information. That payment was issued by Howard's accountant by the end of that day. Howard asserted that this payment was a form of "hush money," and that the call exemplifies the type of coercion he was placed under when negotiating the divorce settlement.

The judge found that Howard was subjected to duress and extortion during those negotiations. As a result, the entire settlement was overturned. This means that the parties will have to return to the negotiating table and work out a new settlement. Many in Texas speculate that the terms of the new divorce settlement may not be as favorable to Howard's former wife.  

Source: ABC News, "Judge Overturns Actor Terrence Howard's Divorce Settlement", Anthony McCartney, Aug. 24, 2015

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