An attorney for Charlotte Fedders accused a Montgomery County divorce court master yesterday of "an abuse of discretion" by awarding a financial share of her new book, "Shattered Dreams," to her ex-husband, former government lawyer John M. Fedders. The book details John Fedders' alleged wife-beating.

In a lengthy appeal to the Circuit Court, the attorney, Bryan Renehan, asserted that Domestic Relations Master John S. McInerney overstepped his bounds in an Oct. 16 divorce decree that favored John Fedders, the former enforcement chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission who resigned in 1985 amid his wife's widely publicized abuse allegations.

During the divorce proceedings, John Fedders "admitted to battering his wife, which batteries are common law misdemeanors," Renehan wrote, " . . . Having voluntarily admitted to the act of battery, although not describing it exactly as such, the defendant is precluded by Maryland public policy from benefiting from these acts and sharing in the proceeds" of his ex-wife's book.

In an interview last night, Renehan said was referring in the appeal to a Maryland law enacted to prevent criminals from profiting from articles, books, television programs, films or other media accounts of their crimes. Although Fedders has not been charged with a crime, Renehan said, the statute should apply in his case because he has testified in more than one court appearance that he struck his estranged wife on several occasions.

By granting Fedders a 25 percent financial share of the book, Renehan wrote, McInerney "has done indirectly what the defendant could not have done directly."

"In fact," he wrote, if John Fedders "had contracted for a book in his own name, the publisher would have to pay over to Maryland's attorney general all the proceeds and other considerations that would be owing to" him.

Renehan also challenged the basis on which McInerney decided that Fedders was entitled to a share of the book royalties.

In emotional testimony before McInerney in September, Fedders had said his wife of 18 years should share the blame from his violent outbursts because she had denied him emotional support during his bouts with depression. McInerney agreed in his Oct. 16 ruling, which granted Fedders not only a share of the book proceeds, but also other considerations, including a half interest in the couple's $425,000 Potomac house.

But that September hearing before McInerney was intended only to decide on a division of marital assets, Renehan wrote in his appeal. Circuit Court Judge James S. McAuliffe already had decided in a 1985 proceeding that "excessive vicious and cruel conduct" by John Fedders had caused the breakup of the marriage. McInerney should not have allowed Fedders to "relitigate" the issue, Renehan wrote.

Because he did not believe the issue could be rightfully raised at the September proceeding, Renehan wrote, his client, Charlotte Fedders, was not prepared to rebut her estranged husband's testimony.

"She did not present in detail the facts regarding the seven beatings she had earlier testified to, nor did she present evidence to {McInerney} as to the psychological abuse," Renehan wrote.

In Maryland, court-appointed domestic relations masters such as McInerney preside over divorce cases and rule on divisions of assets.

It was "clearly an abuse of discretion" for McInerney to, in effect, overrule Judge McAuliffe on the question of who caused the breakup of the Fedders marriage, Renehan wrote. And Renehan argued that it was a "clear error" for him to then grant John Fedders a share of the book royalties, based on that decision.

And even if he did have authority in this case to decide who was to blame for the breakup of the marriage, Renehan wrote, "the facts and circumstances leading to the estrangement clearly shows that {John Fedders} was largely at fault."

Renehan, in the appeal, also challenged several other parts of McInerney's Oct. 16 ruling, including his decision regarding the Potomac house. The ruling will not take effect while the appeal is pending.