Colorado baseball fans may have heard of the prolonged and bitter divorce proceedings involving the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his ex-wife. The dissolution of marriage took place two years ago, but disputes over the property settlement have continued. Recently the ex-wife filed a motion with the court asking that the settlement be overturned on grounds of fraud.
The ex-wife claims that the husband significantly understated the value of the Dodgers at the time of the settlement. He represented at the time that the team was worth less than $300 million. In May of this year, however, he sold the team for $2 billion.
The ex-wife received about $131 million in the divorce settlement. In the motion papers filed with the court, she says her ex-husband claimed his assets were worth under $300 million. She now claims that after the sale of the team, and after subtracting debts, her ex-husband’s assets are actually worth $1.7 billion. She claims that her ex-husband got about 93% of the assets, while she got only 7%.
Asset valuation is often an issue in divorce cases. In Colorado, separate property is not divided, but appreciation of separate property is considered marital property and is divided by the court on an equitable basis. Marital property, acquired during the marriage, is subject to equitable division. Failure to make a full and fair disclosure of assets and their value can lead to serious problems. In a divorce case involving a high-profile couple with significant assets, it is critical to have a family law attorney who understands the complexities of business valuation.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Jamie McCourt sues ex-husband over value of divorce settlement,” Sept. 26, 2012