Some Nevada residents may remember hearing about the divorce of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in 2012. A judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court has recently ordered McCourt's ex-wife to reimburse him $1.9 million in legal fees after she unsuccessfully attempted to amend their original divorce settlement.
Media sources say that McCourt's ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, alleged that Frank McCourt had misrepresented the value he received from his $2 billion sale of the L.A. Dodgers in 2012. As such, Jamie McCourt determined that the settlement she received in their divorce was too low and sought to contest it. Records indicate that the settlement provided Jamie McCourt with ownership of various luxury homes the couple had owned as well as approximately $131 million.
In deciding against her, the judge noted that the language of their original agreement had included provisions that would require either party to compensate the other's attorney fees if they wished to amend it. According to the judge, this provision was intended to disincentivize future litigation. Unless Jamie McCourt's legal representatives appeal the ruling within 15 days of its passage, the ruling will likely be final.
A case such as this demonstrates why someone should afford due consideration to a divorce settlement before agreeing to it. Although it is understandable why both parties may wish to avoid additional litigation in the future, there are sometimes legitimate reasons to amend a settlement in some way after it has been made, such as in cases where one of the parties needs to have their child support payments modified. In order to avoid such occurrences, it may be helpful to have the terms of a proposed settlement first reviewed by an attorney. This can help ensure that someone does not sign an agreement that is inherently disadvantageous to their interests.
Source: ABC News , "Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight", Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014