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Dodgers' former owner wins in divorce case

Texas fans of the Dodgers may be applauding their former owner after hearing about a recent decision in his divorce case. The judge ruled in Frank McCourt's favor in the high-profile divorce case, instructing ex-wife Jamie McCourt to pay legal fees that he incurred after she contested their divorce settlement.

A Superior Court judge tentatively ruled for the Dodgers' former owner, citing various clauses throughout their divorce settlement that required any party who contested the agreement to pay for legal fees incurred by the other party. He reportedly reasoned that the language unambiguously expressed that the spouses intended to terminate the litigation when they entered into the divorce settlement and that they had carefully negotiated this settlement and its terms. Despite the settlement, the ex-wife had brought a previous claim against McCourt, claiming that her husband did not provide her with an adequate share of the value of the Dodgers.

McCourt sold the team in 2012 for $2 billion. He allegedly spent about $1.9 million in legal fees defending against the action. In April, Jamie's legal team argued that these fees were excessive. The judge found that the wife had been intimately involved in the Dodgers' operations and litigation regarding their ownership. At the time of the settlement, McCourt's ex-wife accepted $131 million tax-free and multiple pieces of real property after their marriage of over 30 years came to an end. Jamie's attorney can file objections within 15 days to contest the ruling ordering her to reimburse her ex-husband for his legal fees.

Individuals who are on the brink of divorce may consider consulting with a family law attorney in order to reach an amicable settlement regarding the distribution of their assets. A lawyer may be able to explain whether a provision can be added to deter future litigation.

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

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Bruce Turner

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