Residents in Arizona may be interested in a recent ruling in a high-profile high-asset divorce dispute. According to reports, Frank McCourt, the former owner of a Major League Baseball team, was awarded $1.9 million in legal fees after his former wife sought to change the terms of their divorce settlement.
The case dates back to 2012 when the former couple, who had been married for almost 30 years, divorced. According to their divorce agreement, the woman was given $131 million, and she would not be liable for any taxes levied on those funds. She was also given a number of luxury properties that they had purchased during their marriage. However, after McCourt sold his baseball team, the woman attempted to contest the divorce settlement, claiming that the value of the asset had be underestimated. This claim was rejected by the judge hearing the case.
McCourt then sought to be reimbursed for the costs of defending the agreement; according to the terms of the settlement, if one party chooses to contest the document, he or she will be held liable for legal expenses of the other party. McCourt asked for $2 million in attorneys' fees, but the woman argued that the amount as not reasonable. The judge hearing the case eventually found the woman liable for costs, but he reduced the fees to $1.9 million.
Property division in high-asset divorce cases can be a complicated process. Individuals who have a high net worth are more likely to have assets that are complex and difficult to place a value on. However, an attorney may be able to help a client determine an asset's worth and might be able to participate in negotiations with the other party while seeking an equitable settlement.
Source: ABC News, "Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight", Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014