Chicago residents who have gone through a divorce know that one of the most complicated and time-consuming parts of the process comes when it is time to split up the couple’s property. Divorce is a very emotional process, but sometimes the hardest part of it is the cold, number-based calculation known as property division.
The ex-wife of a former owner of the Dodgers baseball team went through that process several years ago and came out with what looked like a pretty good settlement: $131 million, tax-free, with several homes thrown in for good measure. This would look like a pretty good deal to just about anyone, but she recently asked a judge to throw it out, arguing that her ex-husband deceived her as the actual market value of his assets. She says she was short-changed by $770 million.
At issue is the real worth of the Dodgers. At the time of the couple’s divorce in 2010, the team was nearing bankruptcy. The ex-wife was under the impression that his share of the team was worth no more than $300 million. However, a couple of weeks after signing the divorce settlement, the Dodgers sold for more than $2 billion in the biggest sale in the history of sports. He has denied any wrongdoing in the property division.
Few couples in Chicago or anywhere else have a fortune like this couple’s to fight over. But similar arguments come up in many property division disputes.
When a couple has commingled their assets for many years, it can be difficult to divide them later and decide what is marital property and what is not. And when the property consists of assets that are hard to value, such as investments that have not matured, it can take a lot of work to attach a price to them for purposes of dividing them up in a way that’s fair. Chicago couples considering divorce should get help investigating how the process works and how to work toward a settlement that protects their interests.
Source: CBS Sports, “McCourt’s ex-wife wants Dodgers divorce settlement tossed,” April 24, 2013