$19 Million in Attorney Fees So Far in Dodger Owner’s Divorce

Posted: March 7, 2010 in family law
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You thought your attorney fees were high! Frank and Jamie McCourt‘s divorce could become one of the costliest splits in California history, with attorneys and accountants commanding as much as $19 million in fees — more than the Dodgers will spend on their starting infield this season.CEO and Owner of the Dodgers, McCourt

Frank McCourt has estimated his “divorce-related expenses” at $5 million to $10 million, according to court filings. Jamie McCourt has estimated her expenses at $9 million — and asked that her estranged husband be ordered to pay them.

Although records of salaries and statistics are omnipresent in baseball, specific information about divorce costs is largely unavailable. The Times consulted with several family law experts, none of whom could recall a divorce costing $19 million.

“I’m pretty sure there’s not been any litigation in a California divorce where they’ve spent so much on attorneys’ fees,” said Lynn Soodik, a Santa Monica family law attorney who represented Meg Ryan in her divorce from Dennis Quaid.

Soodik said it was “very unusual” that each of the McCourts has retained multiple law firms. Seven lawyers appeared in court last month for a hearing on whether to postpone the trial date, on the same day other lawyers in the case were said to be conducting a deposition of Jamie McCourt.

Connolly Oyler, another Santa Monica attorney with experience in celebrity divorces, said a total cost of $5 million would be “consistent with most high-profile cases.”

Even though we are talking a high profile case here, the amount of attorney fees might seem high for even this case. However, when you look at the fact that Mr. McCourt owns over 33 entities with countless financial documents to review, one can see how quickly the fees might add up. In Southern California where the jurisdiction for this divorce is located, attorneys charge from $250 and hour to $700 an hour and a “simple” divorce can run $10,000. Britney Spears recent divorce from Kevin Federline is reported to have cost $835,000 and we all know how contentious that case started out.

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