The divorce case between John Goodson, the Texarkana lawyer and University of Arkansas trustee, and Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson, ended today with a divorce decree signed by Special Judge David Laser.
The case had been set for trial Sept. 26 in Texarkana. It was marked by contentious pleadings over property division and a suggestion by Goodson’s attorney that the justice had gotten involved in legislation related to divorce law.
Laser granted the divorce to the associate justice on her cross-complaint in a case originally filed by John Goodson. John Goodson waived requiring her to present corroborating evidence and the judge dismissed his complaint. The divorce was granted on the boilerplate ground of “general indignities.”
The order notes the couple reached a property settlement that is covered by the decree. It is not included in the filing and will not be a public record though it can be enforced by the court.
The decree restores the justice to her former name, Courtney Rae Hudson. She was Courtney Henry when she first ran for Supreme Court. That marriage ended in divorce.
The decree enjoins the parties from “threats of intimidation, annoyance, harm or harassment” to each other.
The couple married Nov. 26, 2011 and separated Jan. 17. Their courtship, and gifts Goodson gave his future wife then, became political fooder used against her by dark money groups in an unsuccessful race for chief justice two years ago and in a successful re-election campaign last year.
Goodson has had other legal distractions, including being investigated by the FBI over legal retainer fees he paid then-Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. He and Hutchinson have said the fees, which totaled almost $700,000, were legitimate though the arrangement has drawn criticism from legal ethicists. The FBI formally dropped that investigation at one point, but there have been indications that the matter may still be under review. Separately, Hutchinson has pleaded guilty to taking bribes in the form of bogus legal retainer fees from other sources.