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Collaborate. Mediate. Separate. Divorce Doesn’t Have to Mean War.

Frank McCourt awarded $1.9 million

Major League Baseball fans in Pennsylvania may have heard about a recent ruling in Frank McCourt's high-profile divorce. McCourt, who is the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was recently awarded $1.9 million in attorneys' fees after his former wife contested the terms of their 2012 divorce settlement.

After the settlement, which had given the woman $131 million in tax-free funds and allowed her to retain sole ownership of a number of the former couple's luxury properties, was finalized, McCourt sold the Dodgers for approximately $2 billion. The woman sought to have the standing agreement overturned, claiming that her former husband had not fully disclosed the value of the team during property division negotiations. However, a judge hearing the dispute denied the claim in September 2013.

According to reports, McCourt has spent around $2 million in defending against the woman's claim, and he sought payment from her for those costs, citing the terms of the divorce agreement. The document includes language stating that a party who attempts to modify the settlement is responsible for the other party's attorneys' fees. While the woman said that the amount was unreasonable in April, the judge ruled in the man's favor on June 24.

As this case shows, the terms of a divorce settlement may be difficult to modify. When drafting such a document, a couple might benefit from working with attorneys. Separate legal counsel might offer a client advice regarding his or her rights and obligations throughout proceedings and could represent the client's interests during negotiations with the other party.

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

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