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Spousal support reduction sought by LA Dodgers' owner

Spousal support and parties' attempts at modifying it are often the cause of much contention in high asset divorce cases here in Ohio and across the country. Take the case of Frank McCourt, owner (at least for now) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He and his wife are in the midst of a bitter divorce that has impacted the couple, the Dodgers baseball team, and even Major League Baseball.

Last May, McCourt was ordered to pay more than $600,000 monthly in spousal support and the mortgages on six homes and a condominium all in his wife's name. McCourt filed a Motion asking the Court to lower the payments to be consistent with his claimed $5 million annual income arguing that his wife should be forced to sell some of her real estate holdings.

The wife filed her own Motion, alleging McCourt has more than $70 million at his disposal, some of which he is diverting to fund an ongoing war with Major League Baseball. Her attorneys argue she should not have to surrender income because her husband is waging a futile battle to save his interest in the Dodger.  She points out that since their prenuptial agreement was previously ruled invalid, she should receive one-half of the Dodgers' value as community property.

The negotiated divorce settlement was based upon MLB's approval of a TV deal with Fox Sports, worth up to $3 billion. MLB ruled the deal was not in the best interest of baseball, in part because the funds would be used for the personal needs of McCourt. MLB took over day to day operation of the franchise in April and the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in June after MLB's decision to withhold approval of the Fox Sports transaction.

This month the couple will face off once again in court. The wife asserts her average monthly expenses exceed $720,000 and that she shouldn't have "to give up her money" for her ex-husband's "futile and wasteful personal vendettas."

McCourt counters he has spent about $660,000 over the last year on his own expenses and some $7.7 million in spousal support.

In Ohio, just like in California, parties in a high asset divorce will surely rely on experienced attorneys to provide support and assistance in seeking a fair outcome.

Source: FOX19 News, "Ex-Dodgers CEO wants spousal support maintained," Greg Risling, July 30, 2011

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