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High asset divorces and where to file

When a couple with significant assets chooses to divorce, they may face a number of complicated issues that other couples never encounter. One of the most common complications is where to actually file for divorce, which may greatly affect the outcomes of the process. While many couples may think, "Of course I'm going to file my divorce where I live," many wealthy individuals may have grounds to claim residence in a number of places, and each of them may provide distinct advantages or disadvantages.

If you live in a state that uses community property laws, you may wish to look for another state that has more flexible property division. Florida, for instance, does not use community property guidelines. However, this might prove fairly complicated, depending on the laws in the state where you live. It is important to be sure you fully understand the range of issues at stake before you begin building your divorce strategy.

Determining where a person's residence or domicile legally exists is further complicated for those with significant assets, especially if the couple owns multiple homes in different states or even countries. An experienced attorney is often helpful when determining residence.

It is also important to remember that it is generally preferable to be the party who files for divorce, rather than the one who receives divorce papers. If you believe that your divorce is imminent, it is wise to begin identifying your priorities in the process and crafting a strategy to achieve those goals. Do not wait to seek out the guidance you need to protect your assets and rights as you navigate a divorce that may prove more complicated than most people can even imagine.

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Residency FAQ's," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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