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When a $131 million divorce settlement is not enough

Spokane residents who are contemplating divorce are often left wondering how their assets will be divided, and what their spouse will be awarded. Typically, it is left to the courts to divide assets, and the process can be heated and at times, fiery. For good reason, too. Many times, the assets divided are accumulated through a life together, which has fallen apart. Naturally, feuding spouses sometimes want to fight tooth and nail for the littlest of possessions, just so they can "beat" their spouse.

Even when the divorce has been granted and the assets divided, some spouses still cry foul at the settlement awarded. Recently, a $131 million divorce settlement has been called not enough by the ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner. After originally settling on the multi-million dollar award, and an equal split of the couple's real estate, everything seemed set. However, the Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion, which was the highest amount ever paid for the sale of a professional sports team. The woman now accuses her ex-husband of fraud, perjury, failure to make required disclosures, breach of fiduciary duty and undue influence. During divorce proceedings, the woman's husband denied that the Dodgers were worth $2 billion, stating that the couple's assets were around $300 million.

For most people, a settlement of $131 million would sound pretty good. However, not receiving an equal amount of your property would be frustrating and deeply unsatisfying. Washington is a community property state, which means that during dissolution proceedings, a court would evaluate the property that a couple had before and during the marriage. After the evaluation, the court would classify the property as either community or separate property. Community property typically can be assets that the couple jointly accumulated together during the length of the marriage. As a result, both parties are entitled to an equal share of the assets. All property deemed to be separate property, or property that was brought into the marriage is kept by its owner, and not classified as community property.

Divorce can be a bitter and challenging time. Asset division is a difficult process which can stir many emotions and lead former spouses to battle. An attorney can help evaluate your case and advise you as to what will be classified by a court as community property and separate property.

Source: GMA.yahoo, "Jamie McCourt Claims Foul Pitch in $131M Divorce," April 24, 2013

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