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Ex-wife of former Dodgers owner must pay legal fees

Georgia baseball fans may have followed the high-profile divorce of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. On June 24, a judge ruled that Jamie McCourt, McCourt's ex-wife, must pay her ex-husband $1.9 million in legal fees. The couple's divorce settlement had stipulated that if one of them contested the agreement, they would be liable for the fees. Jamie McCourt's attorneys have argued that the fees were excessive.

In September 2013, the same judge rejected Jamie McCourt's argument that the Dodgers had been undervalued. The team sold for more than $2 billion in 2012. However, both Frank McCourt and the team have been involved in a potentially costly ongoing lawsuit. In 2011, a San Francisco Giants fan was beaten at the team's home opener in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. The injured man has asked for $36 million.

By the terms of the divorce settlement, Jamie McCourt was granted several of the couple's homes as well as $131 million tax-free. The judge stated in his ruling that the original settlement was clearly meant to be the end of the matter and that Jamie McCourt had had access to many accountants and attorneys as well as being involved in the operation of the Dodgers. The judge's ruling on Jamie McCourt's obligation to pay the legal fees is provisional for 15 days. Her attorneys may file objections within that time period, and if they do not, the ruling will be final.

This case illustrates the complexity of property division in a high-asset divorce case as well as the potential danger of trying to revisit a divorce settlement. Individuals should make certain they are satisfied with the terms of a divorce settlement before signing off on it since challenging one may be costly and time-consuming.

Source: ABC News, "Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight", Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014

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