The seemingly endless, and endlessly acrimonious, California divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt is due back in Los Angeles family court later this month. According to Bloomberg News, a judge has scheduled the couple’s latest hearing to consider Jamie’s request that Frank be forced to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately “so they can divide the proceeds.” The agency reports that the judge “will at the same hearing consider an earlier request by Jamie McCourt for information about the Dodgers’ business.”
Frank, in turn, is asking the judge to rule that Jamie has no right to be involved in the media rights deal he is reportedly close to completing with Fox Entertainment.
And so it goes. Legally-speaking the couple have been divorced for some time, but a lengthy fight over a post-nuptial agreement (the court eventually ruled in Jamie’s favor – throwing the agreement out) as well as deep differences over the future of the baseball team have prevented them from reaching a final settlement.
Indeed, according to Bloomberg, the fate of the Dodgers has again taken center-stage in this long-running Los Angeles divorce case. Earlier this year Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig took control of the team’s business affairs. Jamie is reportedly asking the court to order Frank to go ahead with a sale to be arranged by the McCourts as a couple, on the grounds that any other resolution is likely to fetch a lower price and, therefore, is not “in the best interests of the club or the marital estate.” That claim by Jamie highlights an important aspect of California family law that any Orange County divorce lawyer should make clients aware of: spouses should do nothing to damage community assets during the negotiation of their settlement. Doing do can only create greater legal difficulties down the road.
As an Orange County divorce attorney, this case has been fascinating to watch. In some ways it has come to embody almost everything that most family law attorneys counsel their clients to avoid. Of course, few divorces are perfectly smooth, but skilled, caring legal advice can go a long way toward ensuring that they are no more drawn-out, and no more acrimonious, than they need to be.