The news that Frank and Jaime McCort—the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers—are getting a divorce raises some interesting issues.
Assuming that the Dodgers are community property as defined by Family Code § 760 or quasi-community property as defined by Family Code §125(a), each of the McCorts would be entitled to 50% of the ball club (Family Code § 751). And application of the”equal division” rule (Family Code §2550) would require the divorce court to divide the value of the Dodgers equally or, pursuant to Family Code § 2601, to award one party, either Frank or Jaime, the team subject to an offset to the other party.
It is also interesting to recall that when the McCorts purchased the team from Rupert Murdoch (remember him?), the McCorts were not considered “sports club team rich.” Frank McCort had made his money in the parking lot business (not a super glamorous field). At the time, their purchase was highly leveraged. Since the Dodgers are a privately held company, there is no way to know the overall debt of the company. BUT IMAGINE THIS—if the Dodgers are the McCorts’ single largest asset, and neither of them can obtain the leverage to buy the other out, the divorce court may order the Dodgers sold (Family Code § 2553).
Recently it has been reported that Rush Limbaugh has been having trouble getting NFL approval in his attempt to buy the St. Louis Rams. Maybe Rush would give up his quest to buy a football team and buy baseball’s Dodgers instead… Hmm. I shudder at the thought.