Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I get the judge to order my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees in a property division case?”
A divorce litigant and her lawyers are learning the hard way that when a case is over, it’s over.
The litigant, Jamie McCourt, didn’t think the tax-free $131 million and bevy of luxury homes she received in her 2012 divorce settlement agreement with ex-husband Frank McCourt was enough. She asked a court to set aside the agreement, arguing that her ex-husband undervalued baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers before selling it for over $2 billion to a consortium that included ex-NBA great Magic Johnson.
Jamie McCourt alleged she was entitled to another $770 million.
Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon rejected Mrs. McCourt’s claims. He wrote that Mrs. McCourt was a “sophisticated individual” who was assisted by a team of lawyers and accountants during her divorce. The language of the settlement agreement made it clear that the McCourts intended to end their divorce case and that the terms of the agreement “were carefully considered and negotiated.”
The agreement also provided that if either side contested the settlement agreement, the contesting party would have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees. Judge Gordon cited that provision of the agreement in a ruling entered July 1. He ordered Mrs. McCourt to reimburse Mr. McCourt’s lawyers $1.9 million in legal fees. That’s how much Mr. McCourt spent fighting Mrs. McCourt’s challenge to the divorce settlement agreement.