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California judge faces tough decisions in Dodgers divorce case

Divorce settlements are rarely straightforward, but divorce settlements for high profile individuals with business interests and property assets are even more complex. For one high-profile California couple, the divorce process has been even longer and more complicated than they probably imagined possible. When millions of dollars are at stake, as in the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt, seemingly simple tasks like asset division and even just answering the question "what is marital property?" can become quite complex.

The marriage of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt -- former CEO of the Dodgers -- was dissolved in Oct. 2010. A year later, Jamie McCourt agreed to a divorce settlement that awarded her $131 million and several properties. She agreed to the division based on the latest financial figures that she was given prior to the divorce, but, as of the spring of 2013, she has changed her mind. She now claims that her ex-husband misled her into believing that the franchise and related assets were worth under $300 million when, as evidenced by the sale of those assets in May 2012, they were actually worth $2 billion.

The couple met in court in California in late April where Jamie McCourt´s attorney requested that the original agreement be thrown out and that the court take another look at the division of assets. Frank McCourt´s lawyers protested the request on behalf of their client. They claim that the franchise, at the time of the divorce was worth less than the $2 billion as evidenced by the bankruptcy filing in 2011.

The decision about whether to nullify the original divorce settlement is now in the hands of the California court, but that may not be the end of the complex case. Should the judge decide to throw out the original divorce settlement, the question of marital property may again come up. The original judge had declared a post-marital agreement between the McCourts to be invalid which allowed Jamie McCourt to have a claim on the Dodgers assets. That will also have to be re-examined.

High-profile divorce settlements are never easy. The complexities require experienced legal representation for both sides. An attorney with an understanding of property and asset division and an understanding of marital property law is something that is required for anyone facing a difficult divorce settlement.

Source: fresnobee.com, "Ex-wife wants Dodger divorce settlement tossed," Greg Risling, April 24, 2013

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