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Frank McCourt of Dodgers wins ex-wife's property division appeal

After signing a divorce settlement agreement in a California court, there is not much chance of having it overturned. The former wife of the ex-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers recently failed at such an attempt. She claimed that Frank McCourt was dishonest when he represented the monetary value of the Dodgers and the TV broadcasting rights during the property division process when they got divorced in 2011.

Despite the fact that the financial details and records Frank presented to the court comprised more than 220,000 pages, and Jamie being the former CEO of the Dodgers, she still claimed that she was not informed of the actual value of the assets. Jamie McCourt may have accepted the proposed settlement to ensure financial security as the baseball team was in bankruptcy at the time of the divorce. She agreed to a settlement amount of $131 million, along with personal and real property valued in excess of $50 million.

Frank subsequently sold the Dodgers for an amount of $2.15 billion. Jamie claims this amount to be part of their marital assets and wants $770 million as her share. Her claim was previously rejected by a lower court, and the initial ruling was recently upheld by an appeals panel comprised of three judges. Moreover, Jamie was ordered to pay her ex-husband almost $2 million in legal fees with regard to opposing her attempt to modify the divorce judgment.

According to California divorce laws a spouse who is dissatisfied with a settlement agreement included in a judgment of divorce may challenge the property division terms and even ask for the settlement agreement to be set aside. Understandably, a court is likely not to be swayed to overturn a prior court order absent clear and convincing proof of fraud or material mistake. An experienced divorce attorney can assess the viability of pursuing an appeal and gather the necessary information to substantiate the claim.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Jamie McCourt loses appeal, will remain $900 million short of a 50-50 split", Steve Dilbeck, Feb. 26, 2015

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