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Judge makes decision on fee issue in McCourt divorce settlement

Dallas couples may be interested in the latest news in the divorce legal battle between a Los Angeles billionaire and his ex-wife. The man has now succeeded in his attempts to have his ex-wife pay his legal fees, unless she decides to contest the ruling.

In 2012, former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and now ex-wife Jamie went through a high-asset divorce, ending in a settlement agreement that left Jamie multiple pieces of property and $131 million in cash. The terms of the agreement also stated that whichever spouse opposed the agreement in court would be responsible for the other spouse's attorneys' fees. Frank sold his interest in the Dodgers that same year for over $2 billion. Jamie then sued Frank, claiming that he had undervalued the team while negotiating their agreement and seeking a larger settlement.

After a Los Angeles Superior Court judge disagreed in September 2013, Frank sought the reimbursement of his nearly $2 million in attorneys' fees from his ex-wife. On June 24 of this year, a judge ruled in favor of Frank, ordering the repayment of the fees. The judge held that since the couple agreed that the settlement agreement was meant to be final, and since Jamie is a sophisticated businessperson who clearly agreed to those terms, the agreed-upon amount would stand. The tentative ruling will be final after 15 days if no objection is made by Jamie within that time.

A high-asset divorce like this brings with it numerous issues related to complex asset valuation, property division and other complicated matters. An attorney with experience in divorce may be able to help assess the couple's financial situation and assist in negotiating an agreement between the spouses.

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

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