The McCourt Divorce Brings A Hefty Price Tag - Who Pays?

This divorce story just won't go away.  Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TImes, on the McCourt divorce beat, brings us news of the exorbitant legal fees of their break:

Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce could become one of the costliest splits in California history, with attorneys and accountants commanding as much as $19 million in fees — more than the Dodgers will spend on their starting infield this season.

Frank McCourt has estimated his "divorce-related expenses" at $5 million to $10 million, according to court filings. Jamie McCourt has estimated her expenses at $9 million — and asked that her estranged husband be ordered to pay them.

Emphasis mine.  It seems sensationalistic to suggest the Dodgers are choosing between infielders and divorce attorneys, even at a cost previously unheard of in California divorce law:

Although records of salaries and statistics are omnipresent in baseball, specific information about divorce costs is largely unavailable. The Times consulted with several family law experts, none of whom could recall a divorce costing $19 million.

The Dodgers aren't directly going to foot the bill for this divorce; the McCourts will.  Of course, per court documents filed by Jamie McCourt, the McCourts have enjoyed numerous perks as owners.  But, is this any different than any other owner?  The only thing that makes this different is that no other team has their expenses laid out in court documents.

I don't begrudge anyone for wanting the Dodgers to spend more on payroll.  It's hard to look at the Phillies and their payroll $40-45 million higher than the Dodgers and think otherwise.  But it seems no matter what happens with the Dodgers, the decision is seen through the lens of the divorce.  To me, any payroll problems the Dodgers have are related to debt service.  The divorce itself isn't necessarily causing any problems, but rather bringing to light problems that have been there for some time.

So, no, I don't think it's particularly relevant to compare the legal costs of the McCourts' divorce to the salaries of the Dodger infield.  I don't think a choice was made to retain one of infielder Orlando Hudson or attorney Marshall Grossman.  But comparisons like these will be made for some time, until we see a resolution or a change in ownership. 

On the bright side, baseball started again today.

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