Frank McCourt's Wife Ordered to Pay Legal Fees


In many cases, you can request that your spouse pay your legal fees relating to your Pasadena divorce. California law allows for requests that the higher earning party pay the legal fees of the lower earning party if the higher earning party has the means to do so and the lower earning party is otherwise unable to afford proper representation. The higher earning spouse can be compelled to pay all or part of the lower earning spouse’s fees, depending upon the details of the case.

If you’re worried about the cost of heading back to court after the divorce is finalized, you can add language in your settlement that states the contesting party will have to pay the other party’s legal fees if their efforts to contest the settlement are unsuccessful. This small clause can often pay off in a big way, as evidenced by the high-profile divorce of Frank McCourt, the former owner of the L.A. Dodgers.

Last week, a judge tentatively ruled that Jamie McCourt, who unsuccessfully contested her divorce settlement, has to reimburse her ex for his $1.9 million in legal fees. The primary reason for the ruling was the provision in the couple's settlement that called for any party that contested the divorce agreement to pay the attorney’s fees for the other side.

Jamie McCourt had unsuccessfully challenged her ex-husband’s value of the Dodgers, claiming this asset was undervalued in their settlement. Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers in 2012 to a group consisting of former L.A. Laker Magic Johnson, former baseball executive Stan Kasten, and the Guggenheim Partners. The team sold for $2 billion, which was the highest-ever selling price for a professional sports team.

Jamie McCourt’s lawyers had argued that Frank McCourt’s legal fees were excessive, but the court disagreed and found she had the means to pay. In their 2012 settlement, she received $131 million tax-free in cash as well as several luxury vacation homes.

Frank and Jamie McCourt were married for nearly thirty years and have four sons together: Drew, Travis, Casey, and Gavin. As with many legal decisions, Jamie McCourt’s attorneys have fifteen days to file objections before the judge’s ruling becomes final.

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Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you are in need of legal representation during your divorce. Our Pasadena family law firm can discuss your options and help you develop a strategy that best addresses your unique situation.