Family Law Corner: Spurred Romance?

San Antonio Spurs basketball player Tony Parker has proven he has his head in the game even off of the court—he recently filed for divorce in Texas two days after his wife Eva Longoria filed in California. 

This is a prime example of forum shopping where the stakes may be high.  Longoria was able to file in California because she is a resident of the state.  Parker was able to do the same in Texas. It is likely that both states have personal jurisdiction over the parties if the reports of multiple homes in both states are true.  If that is the case, the question isn’t “who filed first,” but rather “who served first.”  In its simplest form, personal jurisdiction is effectuated once the Respondent has been personally served with process (in California, a Summons and a Petition) and he or she has sufficient contacts in the forum state.
 
It is unlikely that Parker would have gone to the trouble of filing in Texas if he had already been served with the California Petition.  It may come down to a race between process servers in this dispute.  However, Parker’s Texas filing begs the question of why he filed there at all when it became known that Longoria had filed in California after reports of his infidelity became public. 
 
Although they are rumored to have a prenuptial agreement (Longoria acknowledged its existence on her Petition) which waives spousal support on both sides, Longoria checked the box on the Petition requesting that the court order spousal support payable to her.  This may be because Parker just signed a 4-year, $50 million contract extension with the Spurs (just seventeen days before Longoria filed for divorce).  If the terms of the prenuptial agreement waive support, perhaps Longoria intends to argue that enforcement of the waiver would be unconscionable pursuant to California case law.
 
Parker, in turn, filed for divorce in a state which generally does not provide spousal support awards except for in marriages that are longer than ten years.  Furthermore, divorces in Texas are much quicker—judgment can be entered in two months versus the six month California waiting period.  Because Texas is also a community property state, if the support issue is resolved, it is likely that jurisdiction will no longer be a substantive issue in this case and there will no longer be a home court advantage.