Even if a divorcing couple comes to an agreeable divorce settlement without any court intervention, if one party later uncovers information that he or she believes changes how things should have been handled, it is possible to petition the court for a modification. However, those in New York who wish to file such a petition should be prepared to have proof to establish why the divorce settlement was not just in the first place. An out-of-state court recently refused one woman's petition to have her settlement tossed out.
Jamie McCourt - - ex-wife of Frank McCourt - - claimed that her ex had been less than truthful about the value of the Dodgers MLB franchise, the baseball team that he owned at the time. When the couple's divorce was finalized in Oct. 2011, the divorce settlement outlined an agreement that Frank McCourt would pay over $130 million to Jamie McCourt. A year later in 2012, Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers for about $2 billion.
Apparently feeling that the financial settlement she was owed was unfair in light of the Dodgers' sale price, Jamie McCourt went back to court. In her petition, she claimed that the financial information concerning the Dodgers' worth that her ex-husband provided was wildly inaccurate. After reviewing her allegations and noting that Frank McCourt had provided hundreds of thousands of pages outlining the financial state of the Dodgers, the court determined that there was no inaccuracy to be found and that the original divorce settlement would stand. Additionally, Jamie McCourt was also ordered to handle her ex's legal fees for their most recent trip to court.
When an ex-spouse successfully hides valuable assets from being included in property division, whether in New York or another state, the financial impact on the other party can be noticeably devastating. In instances such as this, it can be appropriate to petition the court to reconsider the terms of a divorce settlement. However, a suspicion that an agreement may have been unfair is not always accurate, and those facing these issues will want to consult with a family law attorney experienced in handling these types of high net worth proceedings.
Source: ABC News, "Appeals Court Won't Toss Ex-Dodgers Owner's Divorce Deal", Anthony Mccartney, Feb. 25, 2015