Though the estranged celebrity couple has been fighting in court for months now, the latest dispute surrounds Baumgartner’s demand for an over $1-million payment from Costner toward her legal fees.
In court documents filed on Monday in the Superior Court of the County of Santa Barbara, Costner, 68, said Baumgartner’s request for a “whopping” US$885,000 (nearly C$1.2 million) is “nothing short of outrageous.”
According to People magazine, which obtained the legal documents, Baumgartner, 49, on July 12 received $405,000 (almost C$548,000) in fees from Costner. This payment reportedly included an award of $300,000 (over C$405,700) for legal fees, broken down into $200,000 (C$270,500) for lawyer fees and $100,000 (nearly C$135,200) in forensic accounting fees.
Costner’s lawyers claimed the remaining $105,000 (nearly C$141,900) amount was withdrawn from his bank account by Baumgartner.
“Although Kevin is the wealthier party with a higher cash flow than Christine, Christine is quite capable of contributing to her own attorneys’ fees,” Costner’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “The amount Kevin has incurred cannot be the talisman of how much Christine should be awarded in fees.”
Costner’s lawyers said Baumgartner’s own actions in the divorce proceedings have raised the fees she’s incurred, as well as Costner’s personal fees.
“To use these fees as the basis for an argument that Christine needs more to level the playing field is nonsensical,” wrote Costner’s lawyers.
The Oscar-winning actor asked the court to determine if Baumgartner’s financial demands are “reasonably necessary.”
Neither Costner nor Baumgartner have publicly commented on these latest developments.
Last week, Baumgartner was ordered to pay over $14,000 (nearly C$18,900) of Costner’s legal fees. The payment was in relation to costs accrued by Costner when he filed a motion to obtain answers about her understanding of their prenuptial agreement. Baumgartner previously argued she did not understand the terms of the agreement and said she felt pressured to sign. Costner’s legal team claimed Baumgartner has “refused in bad faith” to answer questions about her understanding of their agreement during the divorce proceedings.
Costner allegedly already paid Baumgartner $1.4 million (nearly C$1.9 million) owed to her as a condition of their prenuptial agreement.
Costner and Baumgartner were married for 18 years. Baumgartner filed for divorce on May 1, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The couple have three children together: Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 13.
The divorce proceedings have also seen contentious discussions about child support payments. In late August, a judge ordered Costner to pay $63,209 (about C$85,500) in child support, considerably less than the $248,000 (about C$335,600) team Baumgartner initially requested.
Baumgartner argued the large amount was necessary to maintain the same standard of living for the children, who were housed in Costner’s oceanside Santa Barbara compound.
For his part, Costner claimed the proposed $248,000 child support payment was too high and might cause him to “run out of money.” He said this is because he is “a bit of a unicorn” in the film world, and often finances projects from his own bank account.
Fox News reported Costner is also solely responsible for the children’s health care, private school tuition, extracurricular activities and the oldest son’s car expenses.
Costner last month told the outlet there is “no winner” in the divorce.
“When you have a life that long with somebody, there is no winner … and it’s this big, crazy thing called life and how it unravels so quickly,” he said. “One minute you feel like you’re on top of the world, and then you realize how, you know, how vulnerable you are.”
Still, Costner called Baumgartner “an incredible mom.”
Costner and Baumgartner are expected to return to court in December to determine the validity of their premarital agreement.
Costner, who no longer stars in the hit TV series Yellowstone, is currently in post-production for his latest film Horizon: An American Saga, which he starred in, produced and directed. (Costner previously revealed he took out a mortgage on one of his California properties to finance Horizon, the first of a four-part film series.)
Baumgartner is a businessperson, a handbag designer and a former model.