Complex property division at core of high net-worth divorce

There are many instances of divorce where complex property division issues arise. This is especially the case where the individuals involved are part of a high-profile couple. Regardless of whether the divorce is filed in Massachusetts or anywhere else, the fact is that the more assets there are, the greater the disputes and the more complex the property division issues.

A recent example comes from the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. Frank McCourt is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He claims sole ownership of the team, although his wife says it is community property and as such, she believes she is entitled to half its value. That issue is yet to be decided, and the ultimate question of the outlook of the Dodgers will have to await a separate bankruptcy determination regarding the baseball franchise.

A prolonged battle concerning the complex property division disputes is anticipated and a divorce trial is expected to start in the spring or summer of 2012. The lawyers have highlighted that, apart from complex property division matters, including two properties in Massachusetts, permanent spousal support and ownership of the baseball franchise remain major stumbling blocks. And all issues concerning the Dodgers hark back to the pending bankruptcy proceedings.

This adds to the complexity of the matters at hand with divorce and complex property division, as well as bankruptcy issues overlapping one another. While Frank McCourt hopes to retain control of ownership of the Dodgers, that decision may be taken out of his hands by decisions made by the parent company. It is as yet unclear how this might impact the divorce proceedings and the distribution of community property assets.

While Massachusetts is not a community property state, many of the issues in a high profile divorce are handled in a similar manner.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Final Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce trial? Wait till next year,” Bill Shaikin, Sept. 14, 2011

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