Divorce and Dodgers BaseballThe Frank and Jamie McCourt ended their 30 year marriage in October 2009 and embarked on one of the most expensive and contentious divorces in California history.
The main prize in the divorce battle is control over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Frank is the owner of the Dodgers and his estranged wife was the CEO until Frank fired her upon the divorce filing.
The clash over the Dodgers has left the team shattered. In April of 2011, Major League Baseball took over the daily functions of the team and on June 27 the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection.
Attorneys for both sides have blamed the other spouse for the disintegration. Michael Kump, an attorney for Jamie McCourt said, "Frank's remarkable ability to waste money through frivolous legal actions mirrors his devastating decisions that have led to the Dodgers' bankruptcy." On the other side, Frank McCourt's attorney asserts that the blame for the club's demise is because Jamie refuses to accept any divorce settlement and is letting the case go on indefinitely.
California is a community property state; therefore, Jamie McCourt has the right to ask for half of the Dodgers. The McCourts had reached an agreement with Fox to televise Dodger games that was worth almost 3 billion dollars. The finalized contract was contingent on MLB's approval. Bud Selig, MLB's commissioner rejected the deal, setting in motion the downward financial spiral for the Dodgers which culminated in the bankruptcy filing.
The latest chapter in this divorce fight involves spousal support. Back in June of 2010, the court ordered Frank to pay his estranged wife $600,000 every month in spousal support. Over half of this amount is to be used for the 7 homes that are in Jamie's name. In the past year, Frank has paid out $8 million dollars and claims to have an income of only $5 million. Frank has filed a request with the court to reduce his spousal support arguing that Jamie should sell some of the homes to reduce her bills. Attorneys for Mrs. McCourt have filed a motion opposing that request. A hearing date has been set for Aug. 10th to decide the amount of support that is appropriate.
Luckily, this divorce is an exception and far from the rule when it comes to typical divorce proceedings. This is an example of a contested divorce that involves many assets and large amounts of money. Most couples want to divorce as quickly and affordably as possible.
While the McCourt divorce will probably end up costing around $35 million, the costs associated with a typical divorce can be greatly reduced using mediation and other more affordable methods.
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