When a divorcing couple doesn't have much property or other assets, it can make the divorce process relatively uncomplicated.  But when a couple has a lot to divide - several homes and significant business assets such as a major league baseball team, for example - achieving a property settlement that pleases both parties can be a near-impossible task, as Frank and Jamie McCourt are quickly learning.

The McCourts, who purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, recently concluded the first week of their highly contested divorce proceedings in Los Angeles.  Mr. McCourt testified that his wife signed an agreement giving him sole ownership over the Dodgers.  On the last day of the week, Mrs. McCourt took the stand, testifying that her husband signed an agreement leaving her all of the couples' many homes and dividing ownership of the Dodgers.

At issue is an agreement made in Massachusetts, where the couple previously lived, placing the couples' houses in Mrs. McCourt's name, and the business assets, including the Dodgers, in Mr. McCourt's name.  Various issues with the document's accuracy and interpretation have arisen.  Under California law, community property includes any property obtained during the marriage, regardless of who paid or signed for it.  Such property must be divided equally among the parties.  Massachusetts, which is not a community property state, does not have such laws.

The court will determine which state's law to follow, in addition to several other issues which will inevitably arise, when the proceedings resume in two weeks, at which time Larry Silverstein, the Massachusetts attorney who prepared the disputed agreement, will testify.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "McCourts each express disbelief over the other's interpretation of agreement", Carla Hall and Bill Shaikin, 3 September 2010