Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon has had all the issues in the post-nup trial on the table for over a month now, and the parties filed their proposed findings several weeks back. While Gordon has until just about the new year to announce a decision, no one really expects him to stretch this out toward the deadline. Indeed, many--myself included--look for a ruling on the validity of the post-nup before Thanksgiving.
A decision could well serve as a catalyst for serious settlement discussions. The validity of the MPA is the greatest variable in the divorce, and taking it out of play gives each party a more certain position from which to negotiate. Whichever side wins on the MPA will try to play that victory as a trump card in discussions. The losing side will, in turn, seek to use the threat of additional litigation as leverage.
And it's the specter of continuing litigation which is both most vexing to fans and the greatest reason the parties will have to settle the thing. Both parties have likely already considered their strategy on appeal, and each can make noise about the next step in the litigation over the Dodgers. For Frank, it will be the way he purchased the Dodgers--with proceeds from an asset acquired before marriage. It's not great; if it was, it would have been his first bullet. But it's something, and it would cost time and money.
Jamie's next step would be the issue of support; even if the Dodgers are nominally Frank's, isn't he still obligated to pay her enough to support her marital lifestyle? And how would he come up with that cash? And Lord help us all if, as Jamie's lawyers believe might happen, we end up in another trial to characterize each and every of the couple's assets as separate or community property. That would take, well, if not forever, damn close.
The takeaway is that Gordon's ruling only ends this mess if the parties want it to. And they haven't shown any particular affinity for working together to this point. Maybe resolving the MPA issue changes that. But maybe their expected outcomes would still be so far apart that Gordon's decision still isn't enough motivation to put this behind us.
In the past, Frank had been unwilling to compromise in any way that would affect his control and the operation of the Dodgers. This would include selling off a chunk of the team or making long-term financial decisions based, in large part, on his obligations to Jamie. Losing on the MPA might change his mind on that, but still: any settlement that results in the sale of the Dodgers is no worse than a loss in all the litigation anyway, so why settle?
For this to end anytime soon, both Frank and Jamie McCourt will have to want it to end. They didn't last year, at least not enough, when they could have prevented much of the damage done by the divorce. They didn't again, at least not enough, when lawyers from each side met to discuss settlement multiple times in the months leading up to trial. And they didn't again, at least not enough, on the eve of trial, before it became the spectacle it did. From a fan's perspective, I hope solving the MPA is enough. I hope they settle, and quickly. I just don't see any reason, based on the McCourts' inability to work together over the last two years, to expect a clean resolution.
Miguel Cabrera ties Hank Greenberg with 331st career homer
10 minutes ago