To understand the issue of complex property distribution, consider the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2011 season. In that season, the franchise failed to make the playoffs and saw home game attendance dip to miserable lows. At times, entire sections of Dodger stadium sat empty, despite the team boasting an all-star roster. While the playing ability and game attendance of the Dodgers suffered in 2011, the most painful moments of the season took place far from any baseball stadium. The franchise was torn apart in the courtroom and in the press by the divorce trial of Frank and Jamie McCourt, the owners of the team. While Frank McCourt had purchased the team using his own business resources, both he and Jamie owned the team as community property because according to California law any property acquired during marriage is the property of both spouses. Further, a pre-marital agreement was also in place that added ultimately added to the drama and controversy. This shared ownership was never an issue while the McCourt's were happily married.
The headlines around the world this week are sharing details of the secret child born to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The media coverage is relentless. This media pursuit is far from unique to Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver. It is also regularly seen with other high-profile celebrity couples. It is easy to recall the international media circus surrounding the Tiger Woods / Elin Nordegren and Jesse James / Sandra Bullock divorces. These voyeuristic forays capitalize on our common human interest in the sordid. This almost desperate need of our society to want to learn details of the private lives of the celebrity has certainly reached a frenzied pitch. The news of the "event," the word Schwarzenegger used to describe his actions leading to his 14 year-old-child born out of wedlock to the family's former housekeeper, herself married at the time she became pregnant, has the media clamoring. Schwarzenegger's scandal has reached a new zenith in public media scolding, most likely due to the particulars of his situation: his role as entertainment superstar, his role as former Governor of the State of California, and his marriage into the Kennedy family.
Madonna and recent ex-husband Guy Ritchie were seen out in London today with their kids at London's Kabbalah Center. You will recall that these two celebrities seemed to enjoy an amicable separation and divorce and appear to be trying to provide "normal" experiences with their children as co-parents, divorce notwithstanding. This effort by them to provide a "normal" holiday season for their children is underscored, but not overcome by the tension that continues to exist between them since they have yet to decide where the children will live (Madonna wants New York and Guy prefers London). A solid basis such as the ability to peacefully share common family experiences, if possible, is always best for children of separating, divorced or divorcing parents. Just as during the relationship, it is equally important if not more so for children to spend time with each parent alone and also with both parents together.