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Property division: McCourt divorce headed back to court

California sports fans may have followed the headline-grabbing divorce between Dodgers owners Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt. The process took two years to settle, and included contention over a prenuptial agreement as well as the valuation of assets. While the divorce was finalized last year, it appears that the two are headed back to court to revisit issues related to property division.

At issue is the sale of the Dodgers, which took place following the divorce settlement. In the divorce settlement, Jamie McCourt agreed to accept a payout of $131 million in exchange for relinquishing her claim as co-owner of the team. However, when her ex-husband sold the Dodgers for $2.15 billion, that settlement did not look quite as acceptable.

Jamie McCourt has filed a request with a California court to ask that the settlement be set aside. She claims that her ex-husband acted fraudulently when he estimated that the value of the couple's assets would be less than $300 million. For his part, the filing states that Frank McCourt may believe that he was simply mistaken in his estimate. However, intent may not play a role in the court's decision to set aside the judgment.

As this case makes its way back to court, the details will likely make new headlines. While most California couples will never argue over these kinds of numbers, the issue of property division during a divorce is a serious topic that can have ramifications for both parties. This case may be unusual in that it deals with immense wealth, but all California couples should be aware that there may be an option to have one's divorce settlement set aside if there are issues involving a significant misrepresentation of the value of marital assets.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Jamie McCourt Calls Divorce Payout Unfair After Dodgers Sale," Edvard Pettersson, Sept. 27, 2012

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