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Jamie McCourt: Ex misrepresented assets in divorce settlement

Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Sep 27, 2012 in Property Division

Dividing assets in a divorce is often a bitter, complex task that can have an enormous impact in each spouse's financial future. Splitting up marital property and assets can be difficult because the process forces estranged couples to deal with facts, figures and finances to determine who is entitled to what. In Connecticut, assets and properties acquired during a marriage are generally considered to be marital property and will be distributed equally between the spouses.

But it is not always that simple or definitive. Often times, properties need to be valued by an expert and any appreciation or depreciation in a marital property must be assessed. From pensions and stocks to art collections and real estate, every asset needs to be categorized and distributed accordingly.

In a typical divorce, the value of assets can be determined quite simply by experts. But, how do you figure out the value of a Major League Baseball franchise? The former owners of the Dodgers battled with this very issue. The couple got divorced and came to a settlement, but now the ex-wife of former owner Frank McCourt says he made a major error by undervaluing the team before the settlement.

According to reports, the couple divorced in 2010 and came to a settlement based on Frank McCourt's statement that the Dodgers team was worth less than $300 million. Based on that number, the assets were divided.

However, when the team was later sold for a whopping $2 billion, Frank McCourt reportedly raked in the profits alone. His ex-wife has recently requested that the previous settlement be set aside because of the gross misrepresentation of her ex-husband's net worth.

According to Jamie McCourt's attorney, Frank walked away from the divorce with 93 percent of the family assets while Jamie received about 7 percent. This would illustrate a significant imbalance in the division of assets, and now it will be up to a court to decide whether a new divorce settlement should be drawn up.

Even though the assets involved in this case are more substantial than those in a more typical divorce, it illustrates how unfair or unbalanced property division affects former spouses.

Source: USA Today, "Ex-Dodgers owners Frank, Jamie McCourt back in court," Sept. 26, 2012