MT. VERNON –– A couple who have been divorced from each other four times face yet another dispute over a property settlement.
The Fifth District Appellate Court reversed a lower court's ruling vacating the settlement between Kenneth and Bobbi Jo Fults. The appellate court ruled there must be an evidentiary hearing over the marriage settlement involving property in Cahokia and Millstadt.
According to court records, the Fults have been married and divorced four times over the last 26 years.
The latest divorce is the subject of the court proceedings. They have four children.
St. Clair County Associate Judge Julia Gomric earlier denied a petition by the wife to vacate the property settlement, but the appellate court panel that included Justices Thomas Welch, James Moore and David Overstreet ruled the value of the properties was not revealed during the settlement.
In the marital settlement, Bobbi Jo Fults received a payment of $200,000 in exchange for giving up any interest in the jointly-owned property. Kenneth Fults agreed to pay $750 per week in child support. The wife later claimed she did not receive a fair share of the assets.
According to the court documents, Bobbi Jo Fults alleged the properties were worth more than $3 million.
The trial court ruled that Bobbi Jo Fults gave up her right to a full hearing after signing the marital settlement agreement, but the appellate panel disagreed.
"Thus, we conclude that Bobbi Jo ... did not forfeit her right to an evidentiary hearing involving the testimony of witnesses and the opportunity to cross examine," Justice Thomas Welch wrote in the Rule 23 decision. "Accordingly, because Bobbi Jo was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to resolve the factual disputes .... we reverse the order of the circuit court denying her petition to vacate the property settlement award."