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Former spouse seeks modification of divorce settlement

Although Atlanta readers might know that earnings and assets acquired during a marriage are typically considered part of the marital estate, valuation issues can arise in a divorce for business owners, especially when only one spouse handled the financial aspects of the business. Sometimes, a former spouse may even repetition a divorce court to reopen matters, as in today's story.

Although the divorce of former L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt may be old news, the most recent episode in his divorce saga is not. His former spouse has requested a state court judge to modify the terms of the couple's divorce settlement -- the terms to which she had previously agreed.

Under the existing agreement, the former wife accepted a $131 million divorce settlement. However, in her most recent filing, the former spouse claims that she was under a mistaken impression that the settlement amount represented half of the marital estate. The spouse further alleges that her mistaken valuation of the marital estate was based on Frank McCourt's alleged misrepresentations.

The former spouse now believes that a 50-50 split of the marital assets would have entitled her to a $900 million settlement. She is requesting the court award her the balance of that amount -- an additional payment of $770 million.

However, valuation of unrealized assets can be a complicated matter. A divorce attorney might enlist the help of additional experts in establishing the value of a marital estate. In this case, Frank McCourt did not sell the team -- for the hefty price of $2.15 billion -- until six months after the settlement agreement had been finalized. He may attempt to argue that the settlement was fair at the time it was executed, based on existing information.

Source: swrnn.com, "L.A. Dodgers: Jamie McCourt asking judge to award her $900 million divorce settlement," April 19, 2013

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