The Chicago Family Law Blog

Play Ball: Dodgers Ownership At Stake As McCourt Divorce Begins

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Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers may be having a lackluster year even though the team is shouldering a hefty $95.4 million team payroll (10th highest in the league according to ESPN). But the biggest liability for the Dodgers may be the bitter divorce of its co-owners, Jamie and Frank McCourt.

Accusations and insults have been flowing from both sides of the dispute for a while; but USA Today and other news sources reported that the McCourt divorce has only just now begun. And since both parties claim ownership of the storied baseball franchise, the couple's divorce may hold sway over its future.

The Dodgers organization is valued between $750 million and $1.5 billion, a fortune unheard of to most Chicago family law attorneys with respect to marital property.

Legal fees alone are estimated to hit the $20 million mark by the time the trial records it's final out, prompting some observers to predict a quick sale of the team by its eventual sole owner. The prevailing party, they say, may not be capitalized enough to properly maintain the Dodgers as a business and may have to sell to owners with deeper pockets.

James Fox Miller maintained his client's legal stake in the team while admitting it's difficult to predict what will happen at trial, which began on Monday:

"If justice prevails, Jamie McCourt will win. It should be equal partnership, and I think Frank is trying to deprive her of one-half of the partnership."

The trial is centered on the issue of whether Jamie McCourt has a legal claim to 50 percent of the team's assets, as she would with any other marital property. But Frank McCourt's attorneys have argued that a postnuptial agreement signed by both parties in 2004 granted him sole ownership. 

Jamie McCourt's lawyers claim their marital agreement lists the Dodgers as jointly owned property, while Frank McCourt's lawyers argue that it was simply a clerical error.

You may want to consult with a divorce attorney in Chicago if you and a soon-to-be ex-spouse are disputing over property issues.

Related Resources:

  • Factors Considered in Dividing Property (FindLaw)
  • Call an Illinois Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
  • The McCourt Divorce, the Dodgers and Marital Assets (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life Blog)

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