New Jersey residents may remember reports of one of the most contentious high asset divorce cases in recent history, if not one of the largest ever involving Frank and Jamie McCourt. Now the ex-wife of the former owner of the Dodgers professional baseball team recently filed a motion asking a court to set aside the couple’s divorce settlement. The reason? She claims her ex “vastly understated” the team’s value, which he recently sold for a record $2 billion earlier this year. That is the highest price ever paid for a professional sports team.
The former Mrs. McCourt’s attorney stated in an interview last month that Mr. McCourt received 93 percent of the family’s assets while his client only received about 7 percent. Apparently Mrs. McCourt tried other avenues to modify the agreement but did not receive a response from Mr. McCourt’s attorneys, thus the only avenue available was to file a motion with the court. The motion is claiming that Mr. McCourt is guilty of committing fraud during the couple’s prolonged divorce proceedings when he misrepresented the family’s assets in regards to the Dodgers baseball team and placed the team’s value at under $300 million.
The couple’s divorce was finalized in October of 2010 and Mrs. McCourt received a little over $130 million. The court papers recently filed indicate that after the sale of the team and deducting miscellaneous debts and taxes, Mr. McCourt’s assets are actually valued at $1.7 billion. Court papers also state that if the figures are the result of error rather than misrepresentation or fraud, the divorce settlement should be thrown out on that basis. The team was purchased by Frank McCourt in 2004 for $430 million.
As this case demonstrates, divorce can take a number of turns and when one spouse attempts to hide assets or otherwise devalue certain assets, the courts may not view such action favorably. This particular case could go either way, however there is the possibility that a judge will agree with Mrs. McCourt and award her half of $1.7 billion in assets. The hearing on Mrs. McCourt’s motion to toss out the divorce settlement is scheduled for the middle of next month, stay tuned.
Source: ABC 9 Eyewitness News, “APNewsBreak: Ex-Dodger owner back in divorce court,” Andrew Dalton, Sept. 26, 2012
Our New Jersey law firm handles a variety of family law issues, including issues involving the valuation of a business, property and investments in a divorce, similar to the case described above.