Details of Bentley divorce settlement released

Details of Bentley divorce settlement released
The Bentley's on their last official public event together at College Colors Day in Montgomery. Divorce papers were served hours later. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The Bentley's on their last official public event together at College Colors Day in Montgomery. Divorce papers were served hours later. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Following the finalization of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's and Dianne Bentley's divorce Tuesday, all the details of the divorce settlement are being unsealed and opened to the public for review.

The Bentleys submitted a settlement agreement Monday. It was approved Tuesday. The governor requested the judge unseal the settlement, which was granted.

Judge Elizabeth Hamner, a Bentley appointee who originally oversaw the divorce and sealed the record, recused herself in mid-September. While a judge declined a motion filed by multiple Alabama media outlets to unseal the Bentley divorce proceedings, the documents were, nonetheless, unsealed. It took some time, however, before the documents were made available.

According to the documents, Governor Bentley agreed with his ex-wife on topics such as age, residence, and having children, but he "denies each and every other allegation contained in said Complaint."

The settlement includes the following stipulations:

HOUSING/PROPERTY

Gov. Bentley was awarded possession of the couple's marital home in Tuscaloosa, though Dianne Bentley will take most of the furniture and will have the right to live at the residence through December 2017. The governor will take ownership of most personal items at the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, and he will also take ownership of property in Shelby County listed under "Old homeplace". Dianne Bentley was awarded possession of the couple's Gulf Shores two beach houses.

Dianne Bentley will take possession of her jewelry, while Gov. Bentley gets the firearms and Tide Pride membership and tickets. He must transfer the latter to his adult son, Luke, within 30 days.

VEHICLES

Gov. Bentley will take ownership of a 2015 GMC Sierra pickup truck and zero radious lawnmower, while Dianne Bentley will take ownership of a 2011 Ford Explorer.

MONEY

Dianne Bentley was given sole title of the couple's bank account, but will have to pay contractor debts on the Tuscaloosa home, as well as credit card charges she made before the divorce was finalized. She also was awarded full control of the former couple's investment account as well as half of the value of Gov. Bentley's IRA and retirement account. Total values of each account were not included in the settlement documents.

Both Bentleys were awarded sole ownership each of 1 life insurance policy, but Gov. Bentley will have to borrow $92,000 from the loan value of his policy to pay to his ex-wife within 30 days.

ALIMONY

Gov. Bentley is required to pay his ex-wife $750 per month in alimony.

LEGAL FEES

Gov. Bentley is obligated to pay $20,000 toward his ex-wife's attorney fees.

GOVERNOR'S STATEMENT

Governor Bentley released this statement Monday after the settlement was reached but before it was finalized:

"The last four weeks have been a very difficult time for my family and for our state.  The people of Alabama have prayed for us and have encouraged us.  For that, I am extremely grateful.

Dianne Bentley filed for divorce on August 28 saying the marriage had suffered an "irretrievable breakdown" and cited "complete incompatibility of temperament" in the filing. She sought equitable division of personal property, sole title of the property that they own, and alimony. The divorce papers were filed at 9:23 a.m., 30 minutes before the two made their final public appearance together, an event marking College Colors Day at the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery.

"During my marriage to my husband, our likes, dislikes and lifestyles have become so different that it has caused discord and arguments in our home. We have become incompatible," Dianne Bentley wrote in testimony, "and our differences cannot be resolved. I know that we cannot live together again, and that our separation is now permanent. I feel that a divorce is in the best interests of both of us and our family."

SEALED RECORDS

Judge Hamner approved a motion filed by both parties to seal the record in their divorce proceedings, leading multiple Alabama media outlets to file a motion to unseal those records. The media outlets requested the documents be unsealed to see if there is any information of interest to the public. Specifically, whether there are any allegations of infidelity while the governor was on state business, whether there was any misuse of state funds or whether there was a misuse of Bentley's position as governor.

State representative Allen Farley filed paperwork with the attorney general's office to look into allegations that the governor used state funds to cover up actions which led to Dianne Bentley filing for divorce.

The Bentleys share four children and eight grandchildren over the span of a 50 year marriage.

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