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Settlement deal upheld between former Dodgers owner and ex-wife

While Alaska and California have somewhat different rules regarding divorce matters, Alaska residents may still want to pay attention to the legal battle between a former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his ex-wife. A California appeals court denied Jamie McCourt's appeal on Feb. 24 and upheld the couple's financial settlement agreement.

The former Mrs. McCourt was supposed to receive $131 million in cash and several homes and other property valued at more than $50 million, but she tried to block the deal because she believed her ex-husband did not accurately value the Dodgers' worth and the team's television broadcast rights when the couple entered into their agreement in 2011.

Mr. McCourt sold the Dodgers in 2012 for $2 billion. Mrs. McCourt and her attorneys were sent more than 220,000 pages of financial documents during their divorce proceedings, which fact the appeals court stated undermined her claim. In addition, during her tenure as an officer of the team, she also had access to a 2009 document that valued the team including the associated television rights at more than $2.4 billion. Since the evidence indicated that Mrs. McCourt was fully aware of the team's value, the court ruled that she had enough information to make an informed decision. According to reports, the ruling stated that the settlement she accepted gave her a fixed amount so that she did not have to deal with the uncertainty of what the Dodgers would sell for.

A high-asset divorce is different in Alaska because the state follows equitable distribution rules when dealing with property division. The principle of equitable distribution will lead a court to award each party a fair but not necessarily equal share of marital property, unless the couple is able to come to an agreement on that matter that the court approves.

Source: ABC News, "Appeals Court Won't Toss Ex-Dodgers Owner's Divorce Deal", Anthony McCartney, Associated Press, Feb. 25, 2015

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