NBA Star Dwyane Wade Out $10 Million in Divorce Legal Bills
Basketball star Dwyane Wade is reportedly on the hook for $10 million in legal bills for his high-profile divorce from high school sweetheart Siohvaughn Funches.
Wade, a three-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, is apparently shelling out more for lawyers than he’s giving to his ex, according to a report by Gossip Extra.
The case got very messy when Funches sat out on a Chicago sidewalk last month holding a sign that said “NBA Miami Heat star mother of his children on the streets,” while suing him for a chunk of his endorsement money. Wade eventually agreed to a $5 million settlement for Funches plus a house and some cars.
According to his attorneys, he was already paying quite a bit. “Despite false allegations by Ms. Funches claiming to be ‘homeless’ and ‘destitute,’ Dwyane Wade has maintained over the years financial support to his ex-wife by providing her with income over $25,000 on a monthly basis, timely paid for her home mortgage, maintenance and security at the house, 4 cars, insurance, taxes and all of her attorney fees throughout this process,” one of his lawyers said in a statement. “Ms. Funches has made a mockery of homelessness which is a serious and personal issue for Mr. Wade as his mother was homeless for a period of time when he was a child.”
The divorce has dragged on for six years and included a bitter custody fight. Wade currently has custody of their two children, but Funches indicated that she might challenge the decision once again.
According to reports, he’s footing the entire bill for the separation, paying lawyers for both sides out of a bank account. “It was a complicated case, but it may have become personal,” one of his attorneys told Gossip Extra. “My gut feeling is that he doesn’t even know how much he’s paying.”
Out of Control
Even for a rich celebrity, $10 million in legal bills must be quite a shock. “I would think that’s excessive representation,” says Terry A. Szucsko, an attorney with Bay Area family law firm Lvovich, Volchegursky & Szucsko. “I would counsel my clients in regard to legal fees and how they could spiral out of control.”
The best way to keep costs low is for the divorcing parties to work out as much as they can themselves instead of litigating.
“The only reason they would spiral out of control in most cases is that one or the other of you is not being reasonable,” Szucsko says. “If you can’t come to a reasonable agreement between the two of you, that’s the only reason you’re going in front of the judge, for the judge to make a decision you can’t make on your own. Then the attorneys are briefing the court, going to depositions, bringing in outside experts and that’s the reason your fees are going so high.”
Of course, being reasonable and coming to an agreement together might not be an option if the divorce is acrimonious. Things get especially dangerous when there is a great disparity in wealth and one party is footing the entire legal bill, which could tempt the opposing counsel to deliberately run up the costs.
“The simplest way to keep that in check is to actually look at what’s coming down the line,” says Szucsko. “You have to know what’s happening in the case. If the wife’s attorneys see nobody’s challenging the fees, they might just bill bill bill because nobody’s paying attention.”
As a result someone might end up paying more in legal bills than the actual amount of money being disputed. “If you see it costs you $1 million to fight for $10,000,” the attorney says, “if somebody was actually looking and challenging them and knowing how much is being paid, reasonableness might come back into play.”