Location is very important in divorce. Because state laws regarding things like property division vary widely throughout the United States, choosing where to file for divorce is important. Is your state an equitable division state or a community property state? Do both spouses live in different states? What about the kids? What happens to property in states that neither party resides in?
The Brangelina divorce demonstrates some of the complexities of location in divorce. The two own quite a few properties all over the world. From their multimillion dollar compound in Los Angeles to their New Orleans French Quarter mansion to their southern France chateau, the couple needed to make an important decision: where do we file for divorce, and why?
Jurisdictional Differences In The United States
In community property states, assets earned or acquired during a marriage are understood to be equally owned and are divided as such. Even if one spouse is unemployed, that spouse is still entitled to half of the marital assets. In equitable division states, the courts determine what property is marital and which is separate, tally up the marital property and negotiate an equitable, but not necessarily equal, division. Colorado is an equitable division state. Depending on the nature of your finances and assets, choosing between an equitable division state and a community property state can drastically affect your divorce settlement.
If you own property in Colorado and another state and are filing for divorce, another question you need to ask is: do you fulfill the residency requirement for the state to file for divorce? For example, in Colorado, one spouse must be a legal resident of Colorado for 90 days before a divorce can be filed. You are allowed to file for divorce anywhere that you and your spouse meet residency requirements. You can use this information strategically, even for property in other states, because often the rules of the state where the divorce is filed take precedence over the rules of other states.
One last thing you should look at is spousal support laws (also known as maintenance or alimony, depending on where you’re from). If you intend to collect spousal support, look into the laws in Colorado and the other states where you meet residency requirements to determine if the laws for maintenance might be favorable if you file for divorce somewhere else.
Our Colorado family law firm can assist you in matters of property division regarding properties both in and outside of Colorado.