Debbie Matenopoulos's divorce gets ugly!

Debbie Matenopoulus and her estranged husband Jay Faires are fighting over their million dollar Los Angeles home, cell phone bills, who pays the mortgage and, even, the cable bill.
Mr. Faires accuses Ms. Matenopoulus of “living beyond their means” and of “not paying anything and expecting him to foot all the bills.” She only makes $225,000 per year (peanuts!) and he brings in about $450,000 (almost peanuts) per year from his job as an LA music exec. So, between their annual income of about $670,000 per annum (poor house here they come!), he’s had to pay for mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance, gardener, pool, alarm, cell phone for him and for her, cable, and god only knows what else.
Jay’s big mistake is that he moved out of the marital residence back in November 2008 and by doing so he gave Debbie de facto possession. So Debbie has exclusive occupancy during this “pedente lite” period and he claims she’s changed the locks and the alarm code and everything. If she has exclusive possession, she had a right to do that.
In the interim, while the divorce is being litigated, it would be marital waste if he or she doesn’t continue to pay the bills – the mortgage in particular. I suspect that Debbie has asked for spousal support during this pendente lite period and since Jay is now complaining that she should help out, she probably was awarded said support.
I guess I am having trouble understanding why the husband is paying EVERYTHING. It is not as if the wife is a stay-at-home mom who never worked a day in her life. Nor is her husband, from what I read so far on the case, a rich guy. I mean, he is not UTC Chairman George David. I mean, he makes okay money. But she does too, notwithstanding what I said earlier about it being peanuts. I was being sarcastic. Most people in this country don’t make that much. So it seems to me that Debbie can pay her own cell phone bill, if in fact, she is not paying it. Don’t you think? And she can probably handle the cable bill too. And the utilities. Her husband can pay for the mortgage, or maybe they can bundle all the bills and split it pro rata or something. But I do think that she should pay something. I think that is fair.
As far as selling the house as the husband wants, I don’t know how that works in community property states like California. It seems to me that everything is split fifty fifty in community property states and so the house belongs to them both equally if purchased during marriage and so either they are going to have to sell it and split the proceeds fifty fifty, or they have it appraised and Debbie needs to buy him out if she doesn’t want to sell.
Of course, the husband says the house is appraised for over $4 million. In this economy, it may fetch only about $1.5 million if that much. So, maybe Debbie is smart to say, hey, wait a minute, let’s hold off on selling till the market picks up.
That’s fine. But who pays the mortgage in the mean time? I think during the pendente lite period the husband can pay the mortgage but Deb should pick up the other expenses to keep the house. As a settlement, if they agree to hold off on selling, when they do sell they should take into account who pays the mortgage from the time they divorce till the time they sell and that person should get a bigger cut.
And that should be that. Why are they fighting? It’s so easy. They have no kids so they don’t need to worry about custody. They are just fighting over money. All they have to do is be reasonable with each other. Debbie makes enough money that she can pay her own cell phone bill. She should pay her own cell phone bill; that’s ridiculous. Jay makes double what she makes so he should pay more, pro rata. He can probably pay the mortgage or the lion’s share of it during the pendente lite period. But Deb can pick up the utilities and things like that. And they should stipulate to hold off on selling the house till the market picks up. But since Jay has to live somewhere, either Deb will have to agree to let him live in the house while they find a suitable buyer, or she may have to agree to help pay a fraction of the mortgage, or she will let him get a bigger than 50% chunk of the proceeds when the market picks up and the house moves.
As for the taxes, like capital gains if and when they sell? They would need to agree how that is getting paid too. It could be a huge amount. And if he is paying the mortgage alone, then she may need to help offset a bigger portion of the cap gains tax. If there is a gain. If they sell now and the have a capital loss, then, obviously, the issue is mute.