Connecticut fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers may be familiar with Frank McCourt, the team’s former owner. McCourt split from his wife of nearly 30 years, Jamie McCourt, in 2012. As part of their divorce settlement, Jamie was awarded $131 million, and she also was awarded ownership of several of the luxury homes the couple owned together. However, in their divorce agreement, the couple added in a somewhat unique clause stating that if either of them later chose to challenge the agreement in court, he or she would be responsible for paying the other’s court costs and attorney’s fees.
Jamie opted to challenge the agreement, asserting that Frank had made the Dodgers franchise seem as though it was worth less than it was. Her lawyers argued that she was shortchanged in the agreement. However, a judge denied her claims, and Jamie was ordered to pay Frank’s legal fees of $1.9 million.
Her lawyers argued that the almost $2 million in court costs was excessive, but a judge again denied the claims. The judge noted that the agreement had clearly been painstakingly made and had involved input from both parties.
For those facing divorce, it may be common to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement regarding asset division. However, a less common agreement is one like the McCourt agreement, where a couple works to ensure that an agreement will stand after asset division is complete. In this case, the clause ordering any person who challenged the agreement to pay the other’s court costs was intended to provide a deterrent to future litigation.
Source: ABC News, “Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight”, June 26, 2014