Southern California Divorce Settlement Hearing Postponed for the McCourts

When last we left Frank and Jamie McCourt – a couple who, over the last 18 months, have engaged in what is arguably the biggest, bitterest and highest profile Southern California divorce in recent memory – Jamie had just won a major victory with a Los Angeles family law court’s ruling that a disputed post-nuptial agreement is valid and she, therefore, is a co-owner of the Dodgers.

That made last week’s headline in the Los Angeles Times a bit surprising: “Frank and Jamie McCourt working quietly on a settlement.” ‘Quiet,’ ‘settlement’ and ‘McCourt’ are words we are not accustomed to seeing together in the same sentence. The confluence of that headline and Opening Day made this seem like a good time for an update.

The Times report says attorneys for the couple sought and received postponement of a hearing scheduled to take place early next week regarding settlement issues. The hearing had been scheduled to consider Jamie’s demand “that Frank be ordered to provide her with extensive financial documentation regarding the Dodgers’ business operations.” The Times notes that media reports over the winter have indicated that Jamie is willing to cede her share of the team back to Frank in exchange for a payout “but she has balked at the proposals he has offered” so far. The postponement request, coming after about a month of renewed settlement talks, may indicate that the two sides are making progress.

One need not be a baseball fan to observe that the McCourts’ may stand a better chance of coming to a final California settlement agreement if they manage to continue to keep their negotiations out of the media spotlight. Complex settlement litigation can become a problem for high net-worth couples, and publicity rarely helps if the goal is to make property division issues go smoothly. Resolving cases like these involving business valuation issues and the separation of high-value marital assets often requires specialized legal assistance. In the McCourts’ case, for example, issues surrounding the Dodgers appear to have become a sticking point (now that courts have ruled that Jamie is a part-owner of the team).

As a result, this case is emerging as a textbook example of the important role a Los Angeles or Orange County family law attorney can play resolution of complex and contentious California family law issues.

Bloomberg: Dodgers Owner McCourt’s Ex-Wife Seeks Documents on Baseball Team finances

Los Angeles Times: Frank and Jamie McCourt working quietly on a settlement