Monday, March 8, 2010
Sounds like it's good, at least for a select few, to be a family law attorney these days.
[Los Angeles Dodgers owners] 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.
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.
"I'm pretty sure there's not been any litigation in a California divorce where they've spent so much on attorneys' fees," said Lynn Soodik, a Santa Monica family law attorney who represented Meg Ryan in her divorce from Dennis Quaid.
Soodik said it was "very unusual" that each of the McCourts has retained multiple law firms. Seven lawyers appeared in court last month for a hearing on whether to postpone the trial date, on the same day other lawyers in the case were said to be conducting a deposition of Jamie McCourt.
Connolly Oyler, another Santa Monica attorney with experience in celebrity divorces, said a total cost of $5 million would be "consistent with most high-profile cases."
Jamie McCourt has asked that Frank pay $8.5 million to two law firms and another $500,000 to the accountants retained to unravel the couple's finances. In a deposition filed last month, Jeff Ingram, the chief operating officer of the McCourt Group, testified that Frank McCourt could need $5 million to $10 million to pay the lawyers and accountants working on his behalf.
Read more here.