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How the Dodgers’ Bankruptcy Altered a Divorce Settlement

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The filing provides a good opportunity to take a look at the often complex intersection of bankruptcy law and divorce law.

The Dodgers’ owner, Frank McCourt, has been going through a divorce for the past couple of years. One of the issues in the McCourt divorce is whether the Dodgers team is community property under California state law. If the judge decides that the team is community property, that means it is jointly owned by both Mr. and Mrs. McCourt. Under that scenario, a sale of the team to pay Mrs. McCourt in a marital property settlement would have been possible. However, the team’s bankruptcy filing changes things. Now the team’s creditors are to be paid according to the dictates of the Bankruptcy Code. As a result, Mrs. McCourt could be cut out of proceeds from a sale of the team.

Since this blog is primarily focused on New Jersey, you should know that New Jersey is NOT a community property state. However, even if you live in New Jersey now but were (or are) married and owned property with a spouse in a community property state, you should let your bankruptcy attorney know so that they can properly assess the situation. There are certain disclosure requirements in a bankruptcy where community property is involved, due to the presumption of joint ownership.

For a more in-depth analysis of the financial issues facing the L.A. Dodgers, along with a copy of the team’s main filing in the Delaware bankruptcy court, check out the blog Dodger Divorce.

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