An AP story written by reporter Greg Risling stated that the McCourt trial will head immediately into mediation after this week of testimony. The legal issue of this trial is the characterization of the LA Dodgers. In other words are the Dodgers the separate property of Frank McCourt or the community property of both Frank and Jamie McCourt.
As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist I am trained in divorce litigation (including trials) as well as divorce resolution (including mediation and arbitration). In a trial, the finder of fact is the judge (California divorce does not permit jury trials), and the judge will then apply California family law to the facts resulting in a decision. At the end of this trial the judge will rule that the LA Dodgers are either owned jointly by Frank and Jamie or solely by Frank McCourt. Mediation cannot force a conclusion to a case as resolution in court; however, mediation should be a tool in every lawyer's toolbox.
Mediation hearings are usually less formal than trials. In a trial, one side of the issue will prevail; however in mediation, compromise is encouraged so that both sides secure something. Trials can be tremendously expensive as the attorneys pore out their skills in their legal research, procedural maneuvers, evidentiary objections and courtroom training into the trial. Mediation is typically not as expensive as witnesses are usually not called and the primary skill involves negotiation techniques.