After 25 years of marriage, Jennifer Flavin Stallone, the wife of Sylvester Stallone, has filed for divorce. While statements from both Sylvester and Jennifer state that the divorce is amicable, details of her filing suggest that there may be underlying resentments within their split.
Critically, Jennifer is requesting an uneven division of the couple’s marital assets in her favor. In the filing, she alleges that Sylvester deliberately squandered money that was their joint property. Her request to receive a larger portion of the marital assets reflects her belief that Sylvester wasted funds that were rightfully hers.
Whether the courts choose to grant Jennifer her request is likely to be the key issue in the Stallone divorce. The couple has no minor children, so child support and custody are not involved. Furthermore, if Jennifer receives a larger portion of the marital assets, alimony may not be awarded.
The matter is complicated by its interstate nature. The couple has homes in Florida and California, but Jennifer has chosen to file for the split in Florida. This works in her favor due to differing marital dissolution laws that may make her requested division of assets more likely. However, Sylvester may still have grounds to have the divorce proceedings moved to California or otherwise dispute Jennifer’s allegations and requests.
The Stallone divorce is an excellent example of how interstate divorces can become complicated. If you may be approaching a dissolution that crosses state lines, here is what you can learn from the Stallones’ situation.
The Differences Between State Divorce and Asset Laws
Every state has its own laws regarding the rights of divorcing couples to their shared property. When married couples split up, the state often has to intercede to determine how to divide their property fairly.
There are two basic solutions to this question. Some states use “community property” laws, while others have implemented “equitable distribution” regulations.
- Community property: Under community property laws, all assets a couple acquires during their marriage are considered community or joint property. Both spouses are assumed to have 50% ownership of these assets, so all joint property will be divided equally in a split unless a couple agrees otherwise. California is one state where these laws are in place.
- Equitable distribution: Under equitable distribution laws, couples are assumed to share marital assets but not equal ownership. As such, when couples divorce in states with these laws, marital property is to be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The spouse who contributed more to the household will likely receive a larger share of the marital assets unless extenuating circumstances exist. Florida is an equitable distribution state.
These variances can make a world of difference during the dissolution of your marriage. If you’re considering a split that crosses state lines, it’s essential to understand which laws apply in both locations so you can prepare for your split effectively.
Which State Has Jurisdiction Over Your Marriage?
In general, divorce is subject to the laws of the state in which it was filed. In the Stallone split, the couple is currently accountable to Florida’s equitable distribution laws, which may be in Jennifer’s favor.
If your divorce is likely to cross state lines, you may have two options regarding where to file. The question is whether the states in which you and your spouse reside have jurisdiction over your split.
Most often, jurisdiction over a divorce is determined by residency. In California, Florida, and many other states, one member of a couple has to live in that state for a minimum of six months before they’re eligible to file for dissolution there.
If you and your spouse are living separately, it’s easy to meet this bar in two different locations. As long as you have lived in California for a minimum of half a year, you can file there. You can also file in your spouse’s state of residence, as long as they meet the local residency requirements. It’s a good idea to work with an experienced family law attorney to determine the best location in which to file your split.
How to Prepare for a Divorce Across State Lines
If you want a successful, low-stress interstate divorce, it’s essential to prepare before you file. The following steps can help you keep your split on track despite the distance involved.
- Contact an experienced divorce attorney. A qualified attorney is a necessity if you’re handling a long-distance dissolution. They will work with you to find the best possible resolution and ensure that you resolve potential roadblocks caused by differing state laws.
- Determine which states may have jurisdiction over your marriage. One of the first things your attorney will do is help you understand which states have jurisdiction over your relationship. They will also explain the laws in these states, so you know what to expect in each location.
- Choose a state in which to file. With your attorney, decide which location in which to file for your split. This will shape the rest of your split, so making an informed decision is essential.
Once you’ve accomplished these steps, you can begin the marriage dissolution process by filing for dissolution in your chosen state.
Avoid the Stallone’s Complications with Professional Legal Representation
The Stallones may be in for a complicated split. Unless the couple is prepared to negotiate and Sylvester is willing to cede more than half of their marital assets, the interstate dissolution process is likely to be complex. If you’re concerned about your own split becoming equally complicated, you should reach out to the experienced divorce attorneys at Kaspar & Lugay, LLP.
Our highly qualified California divorce lawyers understand the complications involved in splitting up when you live in different states. We will help you determine the best way to handle your divorce in California and guide you through every step of the process. Call 1-415-366-3253 or schedule your consultation online today.