Wednesday, October 28, 2009

McCourts: Minding (And Dividing) The Family Store

Jamie McCourt has now filed her action for dissolution, along with a request for somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 per month in spousal support (depending on whether she immediately gets back all her perks of being a Dodgers co-owner) and about two and a half million dollars in attorney fees and litigation costs.

What's interesting about this case, beyond the usual tabloid stuff, is that it involves almost all of the issues any married couple in business together faces when the marriage goes bad.

The questions aren't that different from those which have to be answered if the McCourts together had purchased and operated, let's say, a sandwich franchise, except that there's a much longer string of zeros after all the numbers, which makes it worthwhile to take a long hard look at the issues, rather than just sort of "washing them out". If either of them wants to air the dirt, as it appears that both may be in the process of doing, their employees, and their business competitors, are of course watching from the sidelines.

To the extent that either airs dirt, and the business suffers, there then will arise the equally interesting question of who it is (to mix metaphors) who killed the golden-egg-laying goose. Since California spouses have an ongoing fiduciary duty to their spouses, and to the community, NOT to kill the golden goose, if each takes a drumstick and pulls hard, it'll take a lot of sorting out to find the cause of goosey's death.