Game On For Longoria and Parker

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Eva Longoria has her head in the game. Working the clock like a skilled NBA player, the “Desperate Housewives” star knows what happens on the basketball court may very well impact the outcome in divorce court.

Longoria filed for divorce from her husband of three years, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, citing “irreconcilable differences.” In the papers she filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Longoria marked the box indicating that she wants to receive spousal support from Parker–but not pay any to him.

While Longoria and Parker are putting on the public face of good sportsmanship, Longoria seems to be putting on the full court press. Parker signed a 4-year, $50 million contract extension with the Spurs just the week prior to the filing. The timing of Longoria’ petition, considering the past and current cheating allegations leveled against Parker, should be viewed as well-orchestrated maneuvering straight from the coach’s playbook.

The couple married in 2007 and reports say that Parker earlier” in their marriage cheated on her with a woman over Facebook. Perhaps this was the impetus for the prenup revision in 2009? If so, and the agreement inserted new penalties for any future personal fouls on Parker’s part, he may be facing more than a shot clock violation and will have to possibly pay up for years to come, even though the couple was only married a short-time.

Longoria told People magazine she recently found hundreds” of text messages from a second woman in Tony Parker’s cell phone. Subsequent reports have alleged that woman to be Erin Barry, the estranged wife of Brent Barry, Parker’s former Spurs teammate.

To make the game even more interesting from a legal standpoint, Parker filed for divorce in Texas two days after Longoria filed her divorce petition. So you are wondering why Parker would file his own divorce in another state…Well, my friends, when the stakes are high as they are in celebrity divorces, a party may consider what is called “forum shopping.” In cases where more than one court has jurisdiction, it is not unusual for partners to shop around to find the one that offers them the best deal.

Forum disputes are strategic, extremely costly and — with lawyers in two states — can be very lengthy and extremely acrimonious. It is essential, however, that wherever the party files, the court maintain personal jurisdiction. In its simplest form, personal jurisdiction means that the defendant-spouse must be personally served with process and have sufficient contacts with the jurisdiction in which the case is filed. Longoria was able to file for divorce in California because she is a resident of California. Parker was able to file for divorce in Texas because he is a resident of Texas.

This case will rest on Tony’s Texas Two Step. It is so simple. Longoria is requesting spousal support and Texas law prohibits a spouse from being awarded spousal maintenance if the parties have not been married for at least ten years. California law contains no such prohibition. Thus, any spousal support claim by Longoria would be allowed in California but not in Texas.

While Tony may be pleased that he signed with the Spurs instead of the Lakers, only time will tell if his strategy will grant him home court advantage.

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