Jamie McCourt filed for divorce October 27, 2009, after thirty years of marriage to Dodgers owner, Frank McCourt. The couple entered into a postnuptial agreement in 2004 which made Frank the sole owner of the Dodgers and excluded Jamie from any share thereof. Apparently, the Agreement was entered into as a vehicle to shield Jamie from the significant debt that was incurred by Frank at the time of the acquisition of the team.
Now, Jamie claims that she had no understanding of what the Agreement meant under California law (i.e., that the value of the team would not be considered community property but rather that it would be Frank’s separate property). Frank McCourt’s attorney reportedly argued that Jamie was a former family law attorney with a business degree who understood exactly what she was signing in 2004.
It is public policy that courts generally try to uphold agreements entered into by parties, both represented by attorneys which on its face is fairly negotiated. At Keil & Siegel LLP, our attorneys advise all clients seeking a prenuptial or postnuptial Agreement that both parties shall sign waivers indicating that they understand all provisions of the agreement. In addition, each party must be represented by a separate attorney who represents each party’s individual interests.
The court in McCourt v. McCourt, in order to throw out the Agreement, will have to find that Jamie McCourt had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the consequence of the Agreement. Generally, this fact-based dispute is decided in favor of upholding the Agreement, however, the court will consider all of the testimony and evidence in making its determination.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a pre or post nuptial agreement, please contact the attorney’s at Keil & Siegel LLP at firstname.lastname@example.org.