KAMAS, Utah — A Kamas woman claims the prenuptial agreement she signed with her husband — whom she is accused of killing — is still valid and she should receive at least half of the equity from the nearly $2 million home they lived in together.
Kouri Darden Richins, 33, has filed a civil lawsuit against the estate of her deceased husband, 39-year-old Eric Richins.
She is in the Summit County Jail charged with aggravated murder and accused of surreptitiously giving Eric Richins a fatal dose of fentanyl. In her criminal proceedings, information about Kouri Richins’ debt and financial disagreements with her husband have been revealed.
In September 2020, Eric Richins discovered his wife obtained and spent $250,000 on a home equity line of credit for the Kamas home that Eric Richins owned before their marriage, according to the amended charges. She had also withdrawn more than $100,000 from his bank accounts and spent more than $30,000 on his credit cards, investigators said.
Kouri Richins had also “been appropriating distributions made from Eric Richins’ business for the purpose of making federal and state quarterly tax payments and not paying the taxes. The stolen tax payments totaled at least $134,346,” the charges allege. Eric Richins confronted his wife about this, and she agreed to repay him, police said.
Eric Richins consulted a divorce lawyer and an estate planning lawyer in October 2020, without Kouri Richins’ knowledge, and changed his will to form the “Eric Richins Living Trust,” investigators say in the amended charging documents. This placed his estate under the control of his sister for the benefit of his three children, and it transferred his partnership interest in his business to the trust.
The civil lawsuit filed earlier this month is in regard to the Richins home that the couple purchased in 2013 in Francis, Summit County, for $400,000.
“Although Eric and Kouri jointly purchased the family home, jointly paid the mortgage, jointly paid the utilities, and otherwise agreed and acted in all respects as if the family home was a joint marital asset, legal title to the family home has remained solely in Eric’s name since its acquisition, with equitable title being held jointly by Kouri and Eric, and subsequently Eric’s trust,” the lawsuit states.
Kouri Richins says she has paid for nearly all expenses for the home on her own since her husband died, and that the home now has a value of about $1.9 million.
“Kouri is entitled to half of all equity in the family home,” the lawsuit contends. “Alternatively, if she is not entitled to half of all the equity, she is at least entitled to half of the increase in equity value that occurred after her marriage to Eric.”
According to Kouri Richins, the house is a joint marital asset and the prenup she signed prior to their marriage remains in effect.
The lawsuit says Eric Richins’ estate believes it has sole ownership over the home, while Kouri Richins contends she and the estate own the home as “tenants in common.”
In a prepared statement on Thursday, Richins’ attorneys say their client’s claim was originally denied by the estate of Eric Richins last year. Once a claim is denied, a person has six months in which to file a lawsuit. Kouri Richins’ attorneys say the lawsuit was filed in order to meet the deadline. However, they anticipate asking a judge to pause the civil proceedings until the criminal case is resolved.