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LA Dodgers are Community Property, Jamie McCourt Co-Owns Team

By Jason Beahm on December 07, 2010 12:48 PM

A judge has declared the post-nuptial agreement entered into between Frank and Jamie McCourt is invalid. This means the Dodgers have been ruled community property, which is a victory for Jamie McCourt.

Jamie and Frank McCourt first met in 1979 and eventually became extremely wealthy during the course of their 31 years of marriage. They purchased the Dodgers only to quickly have their marriage fall apart. Recently the ownership of the team was called into dispute during their bitter divorce.

The case involved a post-nuptial martial agreement, signed in 2004, which Frank McCourt argued gave him the team, the stadium and the surrounding land. Jamie disputed the agreement, saying that she would not give up ownership of the Dodgers. The judge agreed with Jamie McCourt, throwing out the post-nuptial agreement. This means the Dodgers will likely be shared under California's community property law. ESPN reports that the ruling could lead to the Dodgers being sold, unless one spouse can buy out the other.

However, Frank McCourt's attorney had a quite different take. "This ruling does nothing to change the ownership of the Dodgers ... Even without the marital property agreements in place, Jamie has no rights to the team ... The facts are crystal clear on this point. The Dodgers are solely in Frank's name," attorney Marc Seltzer told ESPN in a statement.

A family attorney testified during the divorce that he changed the post-nuptial agreement, so that it excluded the Dodgers from Frank McCourt's separate property, changing it to include the team, without informing the McCourts. The changes are likely to lead to a massive legal malpractice action.

California is a community property state, which means that amounts earned through the community labor of married California residents are presumed community property. All items acquired through gift, bequest or devise to an individual spouse remain that spouse's separate property.

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