Individuals in New Jersey who follow baseball may have heard about the high-profile divorce of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. On June 24, a judge ruled that McCourt’s ex-wife Jamie McCourt was responsible for nearly $2 million in legal fees. She had unsuccessfully challenged a divorce settlement between the two.
The terms of the settlement stated that if one of them contested the settlement, that individual would also be responsible for the legal fees. However, Jamie McCourt’s lawyers had asserted that the fees were excessive. The challenge was related to the sale of the Dodgers in 2012 for more than $2 billion. She argued that her ex-husband had undervalued the team.
In the divorce settlement, Jamie McCourt received several of the couple’s homes as well as $131 million tax-free. According to the judge, she had been heavily involved in running the Dodgers and was advised by accountants and lawyers. The judge argued that the divorce settlement contains language that makes it clear that the agreement was meant to be final and that Jamie McCourt understood these terms. Her lawyers have 15 days from the judge’s ruling to file objections. After that time, the ruling will be final.
Although not all individuals will face consequences as severe as millions of dollars in legal fees, this case reinforces the importance of making sure that a settlement is satisfactory before signing off on it. Attorneys may be able to assist in making sure that all parties agree with a settlement and understand the implications.
Source: ABC News, “Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight”, Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014