As the NBA and the Los Angeles Clippers battle it out to decide whether Donald Sterling or his family can maintain ownership of the team there’s new information that if Donald Sterling and his wife Rochelle decide to file for divorce the move could stall the sale of the team. In fact, a divorce could put the ownership of the team under the jurisdiction of a California family court who would then determine how the couple’s property should be divided under California’s community property laws.
What do Rochelle and Donald Sterling say?
Rochelle has been maintained her distance from her estranged husband. Rochelle Sterling has also sued Sterling’s alleged mistress, identified on the now infamous tape as V. Stiviano. The litigation is part of Rochelle’s effort to reclaim gifts which Donald Sterling has allegedly given to his mistress including cars and a condo valued at close to $2 million. In a recent interview Rochelle Sterling also noted her husband’s comments and racist rants, which was captured on an audio recording and later leaked to TMZ, could have been a result of dementia.
What would a divorce do to the sale of the team?
If Donald Sterling and Rochelle do decide to finally file for divorce experts agree the move and subsequent litigation could create an extra added layer of complexity, which is likely to slow the sale. According to Sharon Kalemkiarian, a family law specialist in San Diego, “Everybody’s got to spend more money trying to figure out what happens to it. Getting the family court involved in it would create another layer of complexity to the sale and another set of lawyers who would be trying stop it from getting sold.”
Donald Sterling and his wife have been married for more than fifty years. Shelly Sterling also continues to argue that she should have the right to own the team even if Donald Sterling is forced to sale his share of the team.
Can the NBA force a sale of the team?
Beyond the divorce and the subsequent legal challenges of how to divide community property there is also several other legal challenges Sterling could use to stop the sale of his team. For instance, Donald Sterling may have a valid legal challenge to a forced sale of his personal property because of personal opinions he shared during a personal conversation which could be case for breach of contract. Donald Sterling also may be able to file an antitrust lawsuit if he is forced to sell his team below market price.
How is property divided in community property state?
So how would the Sterling’s property be divided if they did decide to divorce? Under California community property law, a married couple’s assets and debts generated during the marriage are considered community property. If the couple were to divorce all community property would be divided equally between the couple. States which are currently community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
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