Location matters in divorce
News shows are abuzz with the news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s split. While most people cannot relate to their lifestyle, there are many who have found themselves working to separate their lives and making decisions regarding their children. Because Pitt and Jolie have several different residences, a decision regarding which state to file for divorce likely had to be made prior to filing — a decision that some in Texas also face.
The state where divorce proceedings are filed can have a major impact on the outcome of a case. Perhaps most important to division of assets is whether the state is a community property or equitable distribution state. Community property states view property gained during marriage as equally owned. Equitable distribution states consider the property’s acquisition and how it is titled before a determination regarding distribution is made.
Some states may also be more willing to grant spousal support, a factor that may impact some couples, especially if one spouse has given up a career to stay at home. Before filing, it is important to consider a state’s residency requirement for divorce purposes. If there are children involved, there may be less flexibility regarding where to file due to the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. This law states that child custody cases must be heard in the state where the children have resided for the prior six months. Courts will make a determination regarding jurisdiction if the family has ties to more than one state.
For many people in Texas seeking a divorce, making a determination concerning where to file may be difficult. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can examine the details of a case and help make decisions regarding the most appropriate state to file. While the end of a marriage may be a difficult time, hiring such a professional can provide confidence to those ending a relationship with the knowledge that someone is looking out of their best interests.
Source: USA Today, “Divorce tips from the Brangelina breakup“, Kelli B. Grant, Sept. 25, 2016