Dodgers owner in complicated divorce settlement suit

Asset division is a complicated issue for any couple who find themselves in a divorce process, regardless of income level. Attempting to determine who is entitled to what property, in addition to the separate issues of any potential alimony or child support payments, can be difficult for divorcing couples to find agreement over. The potential complications of the process are being highlighted in the lawsuit between the owner of the Dodgers baseball team and his ex-wife.

Jamie McCourt is suing her ex-husband, Frank McCourt, claiming that he fraudulently understated the value of the baseball team in order to avoid paying more money in their divorce settlement. The two were divorced in 2010, with the wife receiving $131 million dollars in the settlement. At the time, the ex-husband and owner claimed that the baseball team was worth an approximate amount of $300 million. However, in June the following year, he sold the team for a record breaking $2.15 billion.

According to a spokesman for the wife, this means the owner received approximately 93 percent of the assets in the divorce with the wife receiving the remaining 7 percent, provided that the value of the team was understated when the divorce process was underway.

This case brings to light an important and unfortunate possibility in any attempted asset division: assets may be hidden or understated for the purpose of avoiding a fair split. In many cases where this occurs, like this situation, the issue is brought to trial. It is possible, as the wife’s lawyer mentioned during a statement, to resolve the issue through modification without going to trial but it may be unlikely that such a scenario would work if the person in question was willing to take fraudulent measures to avoid a fair split in the first place.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Jamie McCourt sues ex-husband over value of divorce settlement,” Sept. 26, 2012