SOMERVILLE, N.J. — A judge today settled the bitter divorce squabble between auto maker John Z. DeLorean and his wife, Cristina Ferrare, denying her bid for a large share of his $20-million fortune but awarding her custody of their two children.
Superior Court Judge Michael Imbriani accepted a California judge's decision that Ferrare knowingly signed away her rights to DeLorean's wealth in a premarital agreement reached hours before their May 8, 1973, wedding.
He ruled that Ferrare would be the better parent for the couple's daughter Kathryn, 8, and adopted son, Zachary, 14.
"The judgment is not between a good and a bad parent but between two good parents," Imbriani said of Ferrare and DeLorean, the former sports car manufacturer acquitted last year on federal cocaine trafficking charges.
The judge ordered DeLorean, who now faces a federal fraud indictment in Detroit, to pay $2,000 per month in child support, all the children's medical and dental expenses and to split their educational costs with Ferrare.
He postponed a final decision on division of the couple's assets until resolution of the bankruptcy case involving DeLorean's car company, which is expected to take many months.
Ferrare, 35, now a TV talk-show hostess in Los Angeles, and DeLorean, 60, were not in court today. Ferrare is now married to former ABC television executive Anthony Thomopoulos.
Their lawyers each claimed victory in the judge's decision.
John Trombadore, lawyer for DeLorean, called the decision on the prenuptial agreement "a smashing and outstanding victory" that allows DeLorean, 60, to maintain sole ownership of a $3.5-million estate in Bedminster, N.J., and a $5-million Fifth Avenue apartment in New York, among other assets.
David Dean, Ferrare's lawyer, said the "most important" aspect of the case was custody of the children. "Cristina will be overjoyed," he said.