Former NBA team owner Donald Sterling to divorce wife of 60 years

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2015 | High Asset Divorce

An NBA team is at the heart of a divorce dispute between its former owner and his soon-to-be ex-wife. Potentially billions of dollars are at stake in this divorce, some of which stem from the sale of the Clippers basketball team. Basketball fans in Colorado may already be familiar with the ongoing issues facing the former owner.

Prior to the now-pending divorce, Donald Sterling — former owner of the Clippers — was accused of cheating on his wife, Shelly Sterling. Mrs. Sterling even went as far as filing a lawsuit against the suspected mistress, seeking financial damages and the keys to a home for which Mr. Sterling allegedly paid. However, the suspected extramarital activity does not appear to be the main source of strife in the divorce, but rather the proceeds from the sale of the Clippers, which Mrs. Sterling completed without her husband’s input.

Although Mr. Sterling was at one point in time the owner of the team, racially charged comments resulted in a lifetime ban from the NBA. Sometime after that, doctors treating Mr. Sterling allegedly found that he was not competent to handle certain business affairs, and Mrs. Sterling took over lead negotiations in the sale. The team and its assets ultimately went for $2 billion, but so far she has only seen half of that amount and has paid approximately $600 million for various legal fees and taxes. The other half of the proceeds will remain frozen and untouchable until Mr. Sterling is able to put his signature to the sale.

Mr. Sterling has requested that the proceeds from the sale be fully accounted for, which will likely be helpful when it comes time to deal with the complex property division that is common in high-asset divorces. The Sterlings were married for 60 years before they decided to file for divorce, and Colorado couples who have been married for a similarly significant amounts of time might understand how difficult it can be to untangle assets and property that have been intertwined for so long. Accurate asset valuation and careful reviews of relevant financial information can be the key to reaching an agreeable divorce settlement with which both parties feel satisfied.

Source: ESPN, “Donald Sterling files for divorce from estranged wife Shelly Sterling“, Aug. 5, 2015